Befriending Death support service is hosting an open event in Barnstaple on Saturday (May 13)

A support service to encourage people to be more open about death is organising an open day on Saturday as part of Dying Matters Awareness Week.

The Befriending Death event is being held at St Anne’s Arts and Community Centre in Barnstaple, on Saturday from 9am-5pm, with free entry and an optional donation.

There will be a day-long Befriending Death Café, where visitors can share thoughts, experiences and questions over tea and cake in a quiet, relaxed environment.

Information about dying, death, and bereavement will be available, as well as details about future Befriending Death events.

Befriending Death is a community support service that has been running in North Devon for more than 18 months and was set up by Graham West, local funeral director and funeral celebrant.

He said: “I founded Befriending Death, because after more than 30 years of working as a funeral director, I became aware that much of the pain and anxiety people naturally feel at a time of loss is compounded by our reluctance to tackle end-of-life issues well in advance.

“I called the service Befriending Death because that is the aim, to make our mortality something that we are more familiar and comfortable with. Our motto is ‘befriend your death, live your life’.

“This explains our ethos. Enjoy life more by knowing death better. So, this is not particularly for those nearing death, but for anyone, the younger the better.”

The aim of the service is to provide support, guidance and information on all end-of-life issues, through presentations, workshops, retreats, informal drop-in events or as required.

There is also a bereavement support service called Open Hearts, which meets the first and third Thursday of every month.

For more details, call Graham on 07725 318138, email graham@grahamwest.me.uk, visit www.befriendingdeath.co.uk