Celebrant turned zoo keeper

Charles 10 Comments



Posted by Wendy Coulton

I think my neighbours must have been impressed when they saw me clear out space in my garage this month. But the truth is I had no choice. You see, next week it will be the new home for the eye-catching and thought provoking centre piece for a free public event I have organised about end of life matters in my home city Plymouth.

My garage will be the temporary enclosure for an extra large paper mache elephant (as if sourcing one in the first place wasn’t difficult enough!) until it hopefully will stop people in their tracks at Plymouth Central Library at The Elephant in the Room event on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th March 2015.

The saying ‘elephant in the room’ refers to an obvious problem or difficult situation that people do not want to acknowledge or talk about. And that is exactly what I have witnessed too often with bereaved families in distress, conflict and hardship because no preparation was discussed or made for death.

My response to this was to get 15 respected speakers all under one roof across this two day event to cover a wide range of end of life topics including:

*  money and legal matters before and following death

*  health and social care issues like choosing where to die and the identity loss carers may experience when the person they have looked after dies

*  last wishes

*  organ donation

*  what to do when you suspect someone may be suicidal

*  what happens at the crematorium

*  business succession planning for the self-employed and small firms

*  the work of the coroner; and

*  bereavement care for children and young people

There will also be a Death Cafe discussion forum and information stands in the advice hub.

The aim of this free event is to encourage people to come in and find out more about their choices and key issues they may need to consider and plan for in the future.

Wouldn’t it fantastic if just as university open days, wedding fayres and recruitment events are commonplace, we could establish at least annually a similar approach to a focus on end of life issues and services?

 More event detail will be posted in February on www.dragonflyfunerals.co.uk



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james showers
7 years ago

Terrific idea to cover so many topics. I love the elephant mnemonic, which will catch people. Good luck with it all. James

Wendy Coulton
7 years ago
Reply to  james showers

Thanks for your encouragement James. If the public response is anything as good as that of the participants it will work.

Andrew Hickson (Kingfisher Funerals)

I love this idea Wendy. Please may I borrow your elephant?

Wendy Coulton
7 years ago

If you have the transport I would trust you with my elephant Andrew. Thought it was good to physically have an elephant with us when we listen to the talks to reinforce the point. Hobbycraft was very helpful.

Andrew Hickson (Kingfisher Funerals)
Reply to  Wendy Coulton

Would it fit in a hearse? I can just see it now…

gloria mundi
7 years ago

Entirely brilliant idea, hope it goes really well. Who knows, in a year or two people may be wearing eloquent little elephant lapel badges/pins to remind people that life ends, a fact that needs our attention from time to time if we are to live fully in this world. Picnic, Lightning It is possible to be struck by a
 meteor or a single-engine plane while
 reading in a chair at home. Pedestrians
 are flattened by safes falling from
 rooftops mostly within the panels of
 the comics, but still, we know it is
 possible, as well as the flash of
 summer… Read more »

John Porter
7 years ago

Fantastic – I LOVE this idea. Now, check out this L O N G interview and the elephant could go places. I’m in your tribe – same one as Andrew.

Hilary Jackson
7 years ago

Hi Wendy
Just hoping you have a storming success and lots of visitors [and press coverage?] for your Elephant in the Room events next week. Such a fabulous idea but hope the organisational headaches haven’t taken their toll.

I can’t wait to see photos of the elephant and like Andrew [who is just up the road from us in Cambs] am tempted to ask to borrow it. With full attribution of course!!

Andrew Hickson (Kingfisher Funerals)
Reply to  Hilary Jackson

I’m going, Hilary, and I’m going to try and smuggle the heffalump back with me on the train. If I succeed, you may share him/her.