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Bournemouth play host to Joy of Death Festival
IT’S far more fun than most other weekend breaks you might think of.”
That’s the claim from organisers of the Joy of Death Festival being held in Bournemouth this weekend as they look to ‘take the funeral industry out of the closet’ during a get-together.
The event is a celebration of people working in the funeral industry with a programme of quirky events to attract others too.
Talks will be given by a funeral director, a celebrity grave hunter and a woman who collected her mother from a mortuary and buried her herself.
Visitors can join cemetery tours, have their picture taken in a coffin and some will get to ride in a hearse.
“We wanted to do something in Bournemouth that has a rather satirical attitude towards mortality,” said organiser Brian Jenner, who lives in the town.
“We thought that rather than challenging stereotypes we would pander to them.”
Brian organised the Six Feet Under convention in Bournemouth last year and decided to run the new festival after building up contacts in the funeral industry.
“I realised the target market were people working in the industry who are progressive and want to change things. Bournemouth is a beautiful place to have it,” added Brian.
Funeral directors from all over the country are among more than 90 people booked in to attend.
The event will include a parade of alternative hearses and winners at the Good Funeral Guide Awards will receive small coffin ‘Oscars’.
The award categories include cemetery and gravedigger of the year and a lifetime achievement award for the funeral industry.
Michael Stead, from Bournemouth Libraries, will lead a free ghost tour of the Town Hall today.
David Twiston Davies, former chief obituary writer of the Daily Telegraph, will also give a presentation, as will grief specialist Kristie West, who specialises in helping adults whose parents have died.
For more information call Brian on 07545 232 980.
Awards, lectures, and cemetery walk
Today from 10am, £30 tickets include access to all lectures at the Whitehall Hotel in Exeter Park Road, entry to the death cafe and a guided cemetery walk at St Peter’s Church.
Barbara Chalmers will talk about how to plan a funeral, write a will and how to upload videos to virtual safe deposit boxes on the internet.
The death cafe will give visitors the chance to talk about death over tea and cake with places being booked by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org Rupert and Claire Callender will talk about their campaign to legalise outdoor funeral pyres.
Wendii Miller carried out a DIY funeral for her 98-year-old mother Doris and dug her grave after picking up her body from the mortuary. She will be showing her video of the experience.
The free ghost tour of the Town Hall meets there at 3.30pm and will not include inside access.
David Twiston Davies will speak at an obituary lunch at Days Hotel in Russell-Cotes Road at 3pm on Sunday with £15 tickets including tea or coffee and a light buffet.