Death is alive and well as Pendle group builds on its success

First published in Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

PROMOTERS of a cafe event in Pendle which allows people to talk freely and openly about death are now looking further afield after a successful launch.

Five meetings of the Death Cafe in Colne have encouraged organisers Geoff Cheeseman and Sally Penn to consider expanding into Hyndburn later in the year.

Between 20 and 25 people have been regularly attending their sessions at the Green Chimney, in Albert Road, since their November start.

And a similar response is expected when the group assembles at its new home venue, The Crown pub nearby, on June 9, from 7pm.

Geoff, who works as an embalmer and is training to be a funeral director, said: “What we have found is that there are around six or seven who form the nucleus, who have come on each occasion.

“And then there are new members coming along all the time and that ties in with what we are trying to do with the Death Cafe. The idea is to try to remove the taboos surrounding the subject of death so every meeting it is good to see more and more new faces.”

Geoff established the collective with Sally, a humanist celebrant, and is keen to stress that the sessions are designed to foster healthy discussion, rather than explore deep philosophical points.

End-of-life care has been a recurring theme, as many members have had experience of a loved one who has recently departed, and there has been feedback calling for more information about embalming, to be explored on future dates.

Geoff added: “I’m from Accrington so there are a few who have come along with me so the plan is to establish another death cafe in Hyndburn.”

The Pendle cafe is thought to be the first in Lancashire and although there are sister meetings in Manchester and Lancaster now taking place.

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