LYME Regis is to launch its own Death Café next month – an international social franchise that encourages people to talk openly about death.
Since September 2011, Death Cafés have spread quickly across Europe, North America and Australasia and there are now 8,862 branches in 65 countries across the world.
The not-for-profit social franchise encourages people to come together and socialise over tea and cake, to raise awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their finite lives.
The idea to launch a Death Café in Lyme Regis came from local resident Tracey West, who will be running it with the support of LymeForward and The Hub. Organisers hope it will become a “powerful addition to the inclusive events that are offered to the residents and visitors to Lyme Regis”.
Tracey commented: “Death is one of those strange things that people are often ‘marmite’ about – some will talk about it, others will close a conversation down. However, we feel that hosting a monthly event where anyone affected by death can come along and open up a conversation, is a good thing.
“I lost a dear friend 18 months ago to prostate cancer. He died on the very day he was predicted to by his oncologist and he refused to acknowledge the seriousness and inevitability of his illness, even right up to his final few days.
“His poor wife didn’t know if he wanted to be buried or cremated because he just wouldn’t talk about it. The pressures that sat on our friend’s shoulders could well have been relieved if she’d attended a Death Café.
“I’m delighted to say she’ll be at our first event and she’s looking forward to opening up some dialogue about how it made her feel.”
Chris Tipping, manager of LymeForward, added: “The Death Café is not only for those who’ve lost somebody. We hope it will also facilitate conversations for people who want to talk freely about it, perhaps because they’re ill and members of the family are the ones clamming up and refusing to talk.
“I think it’s going to provoke some very interesting conversations.”
The first Lyme Regis Death Café meeting will be held at The Hub in Church Street from 6pm to 8pm on Monday, August 12.
There will be free tea, coffee, cake and biscuits and any spare refreshments will be sent on to the West Dorset Women’s Refuge.
For more information visit facebook.com/LymeRegisDeathCafe