Startups

Paul's very personal business provides lasting memories of a treasured person for posterity

Paul Wookey and his late wife, Debbie Millar, pictured on their wedding day in 2010. Picture: Paradox Photography.

By Staff Reporter [email protected]

Published: July 11, 2021 | Updated: 12th July 2021

Bringing Memories To Life.

How Paul Wookey, an independent creative TV producer and editor for 20 years, describes his new business called, appropriately, Memoreel.

Using pictures and video clips he creates respectful, but by their nature deeply moving, videos of a loved one who has passed away.

A lasting memory of a treasured partner, family member or friend which can be shared on social media or played at funerals or cremations.

Paul’s new venture is very personal.

Because five years ago he lost his wife, Debbie Millar, to cancer leaving the 46-year-old and his daughter Jazmine, then aged seven, to try and pick up the pieces of their lives.

Debbie, a professional jazz, soul and funk singer with years of studio and live experience, had originally been diagnosed with breast cancer, eventually resulting in a mastectomy.

But it was then discovered the cancer had spread to her liver, lungs, bones and, finally, brain.

Debbie died peacefully in the Macmillan Unit at Christchurch on September 10, 2016.

She was 48.

They had been married just six years.

Paul, pictured left, said: “During that early period I found it extremely hard to create a moving and emotional memorial video which was played at her funeral.

“It received a lot of positive feedback and, on occasions, I was asked to produce more for those seeking a way to find closure and deal with their own grief.

“As heart-breaking as it is, I enjoy the process of creating these respectful and emotive videos knowing I am helping people,

“It feels like now is the time to do something good and positive in my life and give back to those individuals wanting to preserve the memory of their loved ones. ​

“Whether it’s very recent, or a few years ago, I will bring those memories to life with the upmost respect and understanding.

“I will create for all religions and beliefs and will work closely with the partner, relative or friend commissioning the video to create something beautiful.”

Memoreel offers two services.

The first, costing £100, involves sending Paul pictures and video clips via email or a file transfer platform together with notes and ideas for music.

“The rest is up to me but expect to get your video in 48 hours,” said Paul who lives in West Parley.

The second service, from £250, is bespoke and involves filming, or interviewing, a loved one towards the end of their life, capturing their final thoughts and memories.

Paul said: “This will be a respectful and a very unique opportunity to hear their incredible story.”

Memoreel has already been welcomed by funeral directors and celebrants.

Poole-based Forte Funerals said: “Memoreel is an incredible concept.

“I’ve been in the funeral business for many years and have never come across such a unique business idea.

“We will always use Paul for future content.”

Celebrant Rob Hazel told Paul: “The current alternative in local chapels are fairly basic slideshows of photos or family-made videos uploaded, but yours are a level above, for sure.”

And fellow celebrant Wendy Harrington added: “Paul is a very talented and respectful individual.

“He captures beautiful moments and always goes out of his way to create wonderful memoreels.”

Paul said: “There is currently nothing in the market like this right now and especially during Covid when the numbers of attendances at funerals have been low.

“This is a great – and unique way – of keeping precious memories alive for posterity.”

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