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New Departure Lounge at Carriages Café, Newark Castle Station, hopes to remove taboo of talking about death

A new group is hoping to remove some of the taboo of talking about death.

The Departure Lounge at Carriages Café, Newark Castle Station, is a new monthly get-together where people can talk about dying, death and bereavement, to help reduce fear and share knowledge.

One of the owners of the café, Wendy Baird, said the idea came about after she got chatting at another café event to Hilary Wellington.

Owner of Carriages Cafe, Miss Wendy Baird, sitting in her function room that is to be used for funerals. 270819DD4-1. (15800589)
Owner of Carriages Cafe, Miss Wendy Baird, sitting in her function room that is to be used for funerals. 270819DD4-1. (15800589)

Hillary has 30 years’ experience in health and social care, working with people with dementia, their carers and bereaved people.

Wendy said: “It was something I had heard about and Hilary said it was something we should do here.”

The first event is on Tuesday afternoon, from 2.30pm to 4.30pm. It is free, there is no need to book, and anyone is welcome.

There is already a global movement known as Death Cafés, but Wendy said the name didn’t seem right.

“My mum, who is in her eighties, hated the idea of it being called a death café. We had lots of ideas for names, but with our location at the station, The Departure Lounge seemed appropriate.”

The informal meeting, where people will be able to have tea and cake while they chat, aims to try to take the fear out of the thoughts associated with death.

Although Hilary will be there as a facilitator, there is no leader nor any agenda. Everyone’s views, beliefs, questions and experiences will be welcome.

Someone will be there from Beaumond House Com- munity Hospice, Newark, and there will also be an independent celebrant.

Wendy said: “We just want to encourage and enable people to have the conversation, rather than be terribly British and not talk about it.

“We are often too scared to broach the subject. Alot of people shy away from it, but it’s the most natural thing we experience, along with birth.”

Wendy had a near-death experience when she was in her twenties, and said she did not fear dying, but she knew many people did, especially in later life.

“It can be in danger of ruining your life if all you have got left to think of is worrying about dying, but it’s not always something you can talk about openly,” she said.

“By talking to each other we can lift that taboo.”

Wendy said the plan was for The Departure Lounge to be open once a month. The next one after Tuesday will be on Tuesday, October 1.

She said another idea that Carriages Café was considering was offering was pre-wake parties, where people could celebrate their lives with loved ones before they died.

“I would certainly want to see everybody before I die than have them all at my funeral,” she said.


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