Long Sutton to host Lincolnshire’s first St Barnabas Hospice ‘Death Cafe’

Deli boss Anthony Bowen is hosting a Death Cafe and says: We are pretty community focused as a business.
Deli boss Anthony Bowen is hosting a Death Cafe and says: We are pretty community focused as a business.

A Long Sutton deli and coffee shop is hosting the county’s first ever Death Cafe organised by St Barnabas Hospice Lincolnshire.

The aim is to give people the chance to talk about the often taboo subject of death, helping them come to terms with their own mortality – and open up and speak about their feelings over the loss of loved ones.

Anthony Bowen, who runs Three Counties Deli and Coffee Shop, with his wife, Kirsty, said: “We were approached by the hospice a few weeks ago and, basically, it’s an opportunity for people to come along and have an open conversation about death.

“Obviously the hospice are sending along a couple of their members to facilitate things. At the end of the day it’s a very difficult topic to talk about.”

Anthony hopes the Death Cafe on Thursday, May 12 will help people like himself who have lost loved ones.

His mum, Julie Gibson, died “completely out of the blue” on January 3 this year and Anthony says he found himself being “the broad shoulders for everybody else to lean on” while, as a man, he found it tough to talk about his own feelings.

“It can be difficult to find a sounding board,” he said.

The Death Cafe runs from 7pm-9pm, outside the normal business hours of the deli in Hoddins Way, and it will be part of Dying Matters Week (May 9-15). The deli will also host a display of paintings that week from local artists portraying dying, death and bereavement.

Hospice spokesman Cat Maddy said because some families see death as a conversational taboo, those left behind to plan funerals often don’t know what their loved ones would have wanted.

And Michelle Webb, director of patient care at the hospice, said: “It is our view that having open and honest conversations will mean that we are all better equipped to support each other when death has an impact on our lives.

“Death Cafe really isn’t as morbid as it may sound and its premise is to provide an environment where the important topic of death can be broached without judgement.”

• For more information or to reserve a table call 01522 559504 or email marketing@stbarnabashospice.co.uk