BUSINESSES and organisations in the district have joined forces to create a week-long series of free events as part of a national campaign to encourage people to plan for and talk more openly about death.

Dying Matters Awareness Week will run from Monday, May 14 to Sunday, May 20 and in collaboration with a range of other local organisations, Guiseley-based Full Circle Funerals have organised a range of events focussing on the campaign’s primary theme which asks, ‘what can you do?’ All the events are free of charge and are open to people across all age groups.

On Monday, May 14 at 10am, Guiseley Methodist Church and St Oswald’s Church are working together to host a GraveTalk Café at Guiseley Methodist Church. Grave Talk is a café space, organised by a church, where people can talk openly about death, dying and funerals. Full Circle and Whitaker Firth Solicitors will also be attendance to answer any questions that you may have.

On Wednesday, May 16, Ilkley’s Clarke Foley Centre will host a series of talks between 1pm and 4pm, focussing on wills and probate with Walker Foster Solicitors, and a session on how to create a meaningful funeral with Full Circle Funerals. There will also be workshops about care planning with Bradford Palliative Care Team, end of life care with Manorlands Hospice, supporting the bereaved with Clarity Counselling and bereavement in children with Child Bereavement UK.

Throughout the afternoon there will also be the opportunity to speak to Humanist and Civil Celebrants, financial planners, experts from Tarn Moor natural burial ground and Resomation Ltd, local creators of memorial jewellery and live animals to pet from Hart Farm in Littondale.

Then on Thursday, May 17, Full Circle Funerals will hold a Funeral Choices Workshop at its Guiseley premises, between 10am and midday and an open afternoon will take place at Resomation Ltd, the company pioneering natural water cremation in the UK and overseas. This is an opportunity for people to find out more about the introduction to this new environmentally friendly alternative at the end of life.

Finally, at 7pm on Thursday, May 17, a Service to Remember Loved Ones will take place at Guiseley Methodist Church.

Sarah Jones of Full Circle Funerals, said: “We held a small number of events last year, and it was so successful we wanted to do it again. Lots of people had so many questions, or said they were glad to be able to talk about death. It can be an awkward subject but if we can’t talk about it we only make it more difficult to deal with. As a member of the Dying Matters Coalition, we’re delighted to be supporting Dying Matters Awareness Week again. All the events we’re organising are free of charge and will offer a valuable insight into the difference that people can make when they open up about the difficult subject of dying.”

Last year Burley Oaks Primary School took part in Dying Matters Week by involving a group of pupils in creating a school bereavement policy. They have decided to take part again this year by holding a literature competition, judged by children’s author Liz Baddaley, for pupils in Key Stage Two. The competition focuses on the concepts of loss and hope in a child-led way and is in keeping with the national PGSE curriculum.

Jo Kendall, Lower Key Stage 2 phase leader, said: “Using literature to address difficult and painful subjects is a vital tool in how we support children in school. They often find it is a 'safe' space in which to explore complex, real-life issues which they are aware can affect them. Many children have known loss in some context - perhaps a favourite toy, a pet, or in some cases a member of the family. As teachers, it is crucial that we help to provide them with a vocabulary to express painful feelings and strategies for coping with loss - it's a part of life our children will experience in different ways. Children tend to be resilient and we help them to practise their skills in coping with difficult situations."

For further details about Dying Matters Week and the local events taking place call 01943 262626 or email: for more information.