A MANNINGTREE town councillor has been chosen as the best celebrant in the East for the second time.

Michelle Taylor retrained as a celebrant, offering wedding ceremonies and naming ceremonies for babies, after 32 years as a police officer.

Over the past seven years she has conducted ceremonies in back gardens, apple orchards and even on lakes.

At the Wedding Industry Awards event last week, she was announced as the Eastern regional celebrant of the year, holding the title from last year.

She said: “I was very excited to be announced the winner for the second year running.

“Following last years win I undertook a massive rebrand. I am getting well known locally and nationally for the look I have fostered - bright and funky Fifties style dresses, with petticoats and Dr Martens.

“I am known as the #FunkyCelebrant as I really do believe in putting the funk into a ceremony.”

Couples who use a celebrant still need to visit the registry office to legally marry in England and Wales.

But after reciting two contractual sentences and signing the register in front of two witnesses, the celebrant wedding takes over.

Michelle added: “I am travelling extensively throughout the region and nationally now, such as Kent Derbyshire and Gloucestershire and have secured my first European ceremony next summer.

“I can’t wait to see where the coming year takes me.”

The competition final takes place in January.