The First Hornchurch Death Cafe

Last Wednesday my dear friend Rachel and I got together and hosted the first (certainly not the last) Hornchurch Death Cafe. I’ve had a few days to take it all in before writing it up due to a very busy few days escaping to the Isle of Wight for a wedding! However time has only made me realise what a successful event we put together and how excited I am for the future.

Leading up to the Death Cafe I had probably even got fed up with myself banging on about it to anyone who would listen. I had mentioned it to everyone and received a mixture of responses. I made flyers, I picked up a few little bits and bobs for ideas I had and then sat down with Rachel a couple of weeks beforehand to go through what we planned to do.

In all honesty, we didn’t plan as much as we drank wine and caught up! There wasn’t an awful lot of planning to do because Death Cafe doesn’t need a plan. The whole event is so simple in nature that it just works. People may need prompting but generally if you attend a Death Cafe you want to talk about death with other people.

When we arrived at the pub on Wednesday I was nervous because I had no idea who would attend or how it would go. I’d arranged the booking of a table for eight at the back of he pub away from the main part (read that as near to the toilets) in the hope we could escape any other big groups or noise. I didn’t account for the speaker pumping out music above our heads but that’s something to bear in mind for next time.

The closer it got to seven o’clock, the more people showed and we quickly filled the table for eight and took on another table and then another. Eventually we had a group of sixteen all sat around looking at us as hosts to kick things off. After a brief introduction all round, Rachel had a very good idea to number our list of topics and then get guests to pick a number. This kicked off proceedings and we discussed topics including natural burial woodlands, discussing death with children, what happens to your online persona when you die and do you know what you want at your own funeral.

I think we were very lucky with those who attended and that they all had incredible and great reasons for attending. Either due to personal interest or their career leading them to have an involvement in death, everyone had fantastic ideas and examples to contribute. The two hours absolutely flew by and I could not be happier with the results! I received some very lovely feedback from those who attended at the end and was asked several times if it would be a regular occurrence. I’m pleased to say I don’t know why it couldn’t be and I fully intend to host them again in the future.

If you did attend on the night and would like to comment below with your experience please do! Or if you didn’t attend but either would like to or have any questions please do the same. I would say that if you are interested but are unsure of if it’s for you or hesitating regarding attending then please contact me at gemmanorburn@icloud.com and we can talk it through!

Thank you for reading and thank you to those that made the Hornchurch Death Cafe the great event it was!! Hope you’ve all had great weekends.

MG x

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