North East's First Death Cafe

14 May 2013, 06:00 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

The first ever 'death cafe' is being held in Gateshead - as part of 'Dying Matters Week'.

A death cafe's an event which encourages people to share their experiences, get advice on what to say to bereaved people and find out what support you can provide.

It's also a chance for people to ask questions they were afraid to ask about funerals and what happens.

A recent survey conducted by 'Dying Matters' found only half has let someone know whether they wanted to be buried or cremated.

Just 37% of people had written their will and 8% had written down their wishes or preferences in case they became unable to make decisions for themselves.

As a result of this a Gateshead business is running the region's first death cafe - as a place for people to come along and ask questions and make a note of their 'end of life' wishes.

Linda Blakleock's the Managing Director of Divine Departures - a funeral directors on Saltwell Road in Bensham.

She's told Capital:
"A 'Death Cafe' is an opportunity for people to come along and share their experiences of death and dying, to ask questions about the funeral profession and how to deal with bereaved people.

You know what it's like, you bump into someone in the street and their mother's just died, and you don't know what to say.

The whole idea of the Death Cafe is to share experiences and learn."

The idea of the 'Death Cafe' is popular in places like America, Canada and Europe.

It originally comes from Swiss sociologist, Bernard Crettaz - and was first brought to England by Jon Underwood in 2011.

So far, these events have been held only in London, the East Midlands and Glasgow.

 Death cafe