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Stamford's first Death Cafe opens with a message

Stamford’s first Death Cafe has opened up serving a message that we should make the most of our “finite” lives.

The initiative, launched by friends Annie Hall and Amanda Seyderhelm, claims a successful first event, attracting around 10 elderly people keen to hear more.

Amanda says the sessions aim to increase awareness of death and dying, so we all make the most of our lives.

Annie Hall and Amanda Seyderhelm (16501127)
Annie Hall and Amanda Seyderhelm (16501127)

The cafes form part of a growing worldwide movement that operates 7600 such groups in 65 countries.

Amanda said: “It’s important there’s no agenda. People can talk about any aspect about death and dying.

“We are a non-denominational group. Everyone is welcome. It’s confidential. What we talk about in the cafe stays in the cafe.”

“We do not ask people about their own circumstances. We are not trying to counsel anybody or fix their problems. It’s an opportunity to have a conversation over coffee and cake.

“We listen and respect each others opinions and accept they may not be the same as our own.”

Amanda and Annie act as facilitators for the group, which is backed by the Stamford charity MindSpace.

Amanda works as a child play therapist, treating children with mental health issues and Annie is a homeopath.

Amanda continued: “We both have a strong interest in mental health issues. Death has become a taboo. People are scared to talk about dying. Yet, cancer is on the increase, dementia is on the increase.

“We wanted to have a space where people can share their concerns. It’s a confidential space.”

The first event at the Cafe Au Chocolat in Ironmonger Street last Thursday attracted ten people.

It lasted almost two hours with people largely sat in a circle at the back, where they could talk freely about their concerns.

As facilitators, Amanda and Annie ensured no-one dominated the conversations and everyone had a chance to speak.

Amanda declared their first cafe a success, with Annie agreeing it went “very well”.

The next Death Cafe is on Friday, November 15, at the Tobie Norris.

To find out more visit www.facebook.com/groups/deathcafeinstamford

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