WEST SUSSEX’S first Death Cafe was held at Field Place, Worthing, this week.
Organised by funeral celebrant Terri Shanks and Ian Rudkin and Christine Walker-Kelly from the management team at Worthing Crematorium, it aimed to bring bereaved people together in an informal way.
Ms Shanks said: “Death is such a taboo subject and this is a way for people to come and share their stories and seek support from others.
“It is a real community event and very important because so many people are just trapped in a prison of silence by grief.
“After someone dies and leading up to the funeral there are lots of people around to help.
“But as times goes on people’s names are never mentioned as people think the bereaved person has just moved on with their life.
“There is a need for this type of event everywhere and Worthing has got a high population of retired people so that means the death rate is high here.”
Sessions will run quarterly and it is hoped that specialist topics such as suicide, AIDS and child death can be covered.
Worthing mayor Bob Smytherman said: “I think this is a really good initiative and a great opportunity to bring people together.
“This is an issue close to my heart having lost my sister tragically.
“Talking really helps people to deal with their grief and this is a really good investment for Worthing.”