A funeral director has invited members of the public to discuss death in an event for Dying Matters Awareness Week.
Tamworth Co-operative Society’s funeral division were given the opportunity to ‘decorate’ a white coffin with a list of things they would like to do before they die.
One woman wrote that she wanted to have dinner with Sir Cliff Richard. Another person’s ambition was to run the London Marathon before their 50th birthday.
Someone else wanted to revisit Norway and ‘enjoy every day no matter what the weather.’
There was even a joke scrawled on the lid –
Question: Why do cemeteries have walls? Answer: Because people are dying to get in.
Others penned messages to lost loved ones, including a girl whose father had died recently, or drew pictures.
The three-day event was hosted by Tamworth Co-op in partnership with St Giles Hospice at Whittington with the aim of encouraging people to talk openly about death.
Other highlights included complementary therapy sessions provided by St Giles volunteers and a display of funeral songs people would like played at their send-off. Top of the poll, compiled by the hospice, was My Way, with Queen the most popular artist and Don’t Stop Me Now a favourite.
There were also talks on different aspects of death, from understanding bereavement and dispelling crematorium myths to sessions geared towards getting people to make a will and plan their funeral.
Glen Speak, deputy manager, said that whilst it might be regarded as irreverent to have people writing on a coffin, there was a serious purpose behind it.
“We wanted to introduce a light note to the occasion to help start a conversation about death and it certainly helped to get people talking.
“Too often it is a subject we avoid because it is difficult, but it is so important to make plans for your end of life so that your family knows what you want when the time comes.
“It eases the burden on them when making arrangements for a funeral.”
Jenny Burdett was one of the shoppers who called in with her granddaughter Kayley Lockley to see what was happening. She said: “This is a good idea because it is something nobody wants to think about, but really we all should. It’s made me think about my will and organising my funeral.”