Call to break taboo surrounding death at Norwich event

Norfolk & Suffolk palliative care academy at The Forum. Carol Bundock and Kayla St Claire with Kayla

Norfolk & Suffolk palliative care academy at The Forum. Carol Bundock and Kayla St Claire with Kayla's art installation 'Find Me, Plant Me, Bury Me'.Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

Calls were made to break the taboo surrounding death and dying with the launch of a campaign to raise awareness of end of life issues.

People were urged to make plans for their death and discuss their wishes with their families at the 'be ready for it' event, which was held at the Forum in Norwich today.

A host of health organisations, charities and businesses came together for the launch of the campaign by the Norfolk and Suffolk Palliative Care Academy.

The academy, which was formed last year to improve palliative care education, is calling on people to talk more openly about end of life matters as part of national Dying Matters awareness week. New research for the Dying Matters Coalition shows that only 37pc of people in the East of England have made a will and less than a third are registered as an organ donor and only 8pc of those surveyed had made a funeral plan.

BBC Look East presenter and Nelson's Journey patron Carol Bundock launched the event today and urged people to do five things to make the grief of losing a loved one easier to cope with:

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Make a will.

Record your funeral wishes.

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Plan your future care and support.

Register to become an organ donor.

Tell your loved ones your wishes for when you die.

Maggie Parsons, cancer and end of life programme manager for the Norfolk and Suffolk Palliative Care Academy, said people found it hard to talk about mortality with their friends and family because so many people now die in hospitals and care homes.

'People used to die at home and neighbours would come and pay their respects.

'We have now got to the point where death has been taken away from the community and we need to bring it back into the community so it becomes part of normal life again. It is about choice and we want people to make informed choices about end of life care,' she said.

Lots of different organisations were showcasing their services at the event including Big C, Nelson's Journey, Age UK Norwich, Colney Woodland Burials and the newly formed Norwich Death Café, where people were urged to write a message about themselves to a loved one and plant it in a pot.

Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk Richard Jewson and Lord Mayor of Norwich Ralph Gayton also attended the campaign launch.

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