Burnley’s first ‘Death cafe’ opens soon

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Talking death may not be everybody’s cup of tea but that is exactly what the topic of conversation will be when Burnley’s first “Death Cafe” opens next month.

Burnley Crematorium will host the quirky event on Sunday, September 7th, giving strangers the chance to meet, drink coffee, eat cake and discuss death.

The idea originated in Switzerland courtesy of sociologist Bernard Crettaz. The UK’s first death cafe was opened in London in 2011 and they can now be found across America, Canada and Australia

Pendle embalmer Geoff Cheesman opened one at the The Green Chimney in Colne last year and is now looking to move further afield.

“We started in November at The Green Chimney and we’ve had about six or seven since. We had a few people who suggested that they would like to see the workings of Burnley Crematorium. We had been thinking about moving it on as well, because we can bring it to as many people as possible, so we felt the crematorium made sense.”

The most people they have had at a meeting was 24 but the average tends to be around 12.

“We want people to talk about death, “ said Mr Cheesman. “It’s a taboo subject and it is not talked about enough. We have had people come to us and really benefit from talking to people in a similar situation. People find it cathartic.”

The Burnley Crematorium death cafe will be open from 12-30pm with a tour taking place beforehand from noon.