Dying Matters Week comes to Croydon

What can you do to die well? A series of events from St Christopher’s in Dying Matters Week

A free festival of creative and inspiring events to encourage people to speak openly about death and dying will be taking place in Croydon from 8 – 15 May 2017 during national Dying Matters Week.

This year’s Dying Matters Week theme is ‘What Can You Do?’ and it aims to get people actively making plans for the end of life as well as supporting those who may need it in times of bereavement; be they friends, family or the wider community.

St Christopher’s, working in partnership with Age UK, Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group, Gentle Dusk and Cruse Bereavement Care, has recruited a team of over 40 specially trained volunteers in Croydon to talk to their community about planning to die well.

Dying Matters events in Croydon will include five Death Cafés and several information stands across the borough, where local people will be encouraged to feel more comfortable about talking openly about death and dying.

 In addition, day long events will be held at Scratchley Hall, Thornton Heath on 9 May and Braithwaite Hall, Katherine Street, Croydon on 12 May. These events will be both informative and creative.

Speakers will include Orin Lewis founder of African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust, Goldsmith’s lecturer Yasmin Gunaratnam, Paul Barker from Croydon Crematorium, a Palliative Care nurse from Croydon University Hospital, and there will be talks on Wills, Green funerals and Funeral Poverty. There will also be an exhibition by Age UK Croydon, and the acclaimed play Don’t Leave Me Now by playwright Brian Daniels will also be performed, tackling the impact of a dementia diagnosis on two very different families. Live music will include a classical soprano and a piano concert; plus some of the most popular pieces requested for funerals will be played as ‘Croydon’s Top 10 Funeral Music Choices’.

The Dying Matters programme is being led by St Christopher’s Hospice and brings together charities and community groups under the banner ‘Creating Conversations in Croydon’; with the aim of helping everyone have a good death by recording their end of life wishes.

 Spending a short time now thinking about the future can bring great peace of mind. Here are five things that everyone can do to make life easier for their loved ones in the event of your death:

  • Write your will
  • Record your funeral wishes
  • Plan your future care and support or those of a loved one
  • Consider becoming an organ donor
  • Tell your loved ones your wishes.

Vaughan Pomeroy, from Sanderstead, is volunteering for St Christopher’s during Dying Matters week, encouraging people to have those important conversations around death and dying.

Vaughan, 65, explains why he feels so strongly about the project, “I have been married twice and both wives died from cancer.

“With my first wife, nothing was planned and it was a very stressful time with my in-laws, trying to impose their wishes, around the funeral arrangements; no account was taken of my wishes or consideration given to our young children. We ended up with a burial in an unfamiliar part of the country, too far for anyone to visit regularly.

“With my second wife, we had all our affairs in order, with my wife writing out her end of life wishes including the details of her funeral service, the music she wished to have played and who she wanted to give a eulogy. I know this gave me the time to grieve and to deal with my loss.

“My experiences have been such a contrast and I really urge people to make plans around their own death, so that they can have peace of mind at the end of life knowing that they have left their loved ones with time to grieve and come to terms with death.”

All events are free but some may require booking in advance.

Find out more about Dying Matters Week and Creating Conversations