16th May 2017

Hundreds engage with Dying Matters Awareness Week

Hundreds of people wrote messages of what they hope to achieve before they die on a giant blackboard in Evesham town centre.

St Richard’s Hospice set up the four-sided board in Evesham on Tuesday, May 9, as part of Dying Matters Awareness Week – a national campaign highlighting the importance of talking about death, dying and bereavement.

More than 300 people engaged with the ‘Before I Die’ board, with many using chalk to write down their hopes, dreams and how they would like to be remembered.

Comments ranged from serious, emotional messages – such as ‘to make my parents proud’ – to light-hearted wishes, including ‘to eat pancakes in America’.

The aim was to create a friendly space for people to ask questions about end of life care issues, such as making a Will, planning a funeral or coping with bereavement.

Before I Die Board Evesham

Alice Spearing, St Richard’s engagement officer, said: “We were really pleased that we sparked interest among the community and it was great to have positive conversations around people’s wishes regarding death, dying and bereavement.”

Ms Spearing ran the board in Evesham and again in Worcester High Street, on Thursday, May 11, with the hospice’s Family Support Team.

About 1% of the UK population dies each year, which means about 5,000 people will die in Worcestershire during 2017 – and each of those deaths will affect many more people in different ways.

Claire Henry MBE, Chief Executive of the National Council for Palliative Care and the Dying Matters coalition, said: “We should not be afraid of talking about death, I know that everyone has questions and concerns, its good talk about it as we can all get our plans in place and then get on with living.”

Research from ComRes, commissioned by Dying Matters in 2016, found that only 35% of British adults had made a will, and only 30% have discussed their funeral wishes.

For the West Midlands, the research found that the region is lower than the national average with 32% having made a Will and 25% having discussed their funeral wishes.

For more information about Dying Matters visit www.dyingmatters.org

St Richard’s Hospice provides free specialist palliative care for patients living with life-limiting illnesses and supports their loved ones. Each year the hospice team supports over 2,500 patients and family members in Worcestershire.

The hospice strives to provide the best medical, practical, emotional and social support they can to help people live life to the fullest, as independently as they can, for as long as they can.

St Richard’s is an independent charity and is grateful for all donations to help it continue its work.