Kate Tym and Kate Dyer launched their create-your-own-coffin workshops with the aim of bringing people together to make something unique, forge new friendships and chat openly about death and end of life matters.
On the whole, people know next to nothing about organising a funeral. They often think it’s ‘the law’ that you have to use a funeral director or have your service at the crematorium or in a place of worship. They are amazed when they find out you can do virtually anything you like to celebrate someone’s life (as long as, ultimately, you dispose of the body correctly).
Being involved in planning your own send-off is really empowering and normalises the whole experience. People start out afraid of talking about death and, by the end of the first session, they’re chatting away about their demise with gusto! We never know who will come through the door or what their reason for coming is. At the end of the day we are all going to die and so death is the one subject that literally is relevant to everyone and the one thing we all have in common. And, once given permission to have these conversations, we can’t shut people up.
It pays to plan ahead. Expecting people to think creatively and ask difficult questions, at a time of bereavement, is a very big ask. Talking about your death when it’s still (possibly) a long way off, allows you to be more questioning and think more creatively and frees you up to make choices you might not make at a time when you’re at your most exhausted and vulnerable (or, in fact, dead).
There is no right or wrong way to do things – from the most conventional funeral with a limo, hearse and Dickensian gent, to frolicking through a field with fire-eaters and dancing girls – it’s all about choosing what’s right for you.
We have no artistic ability whatsoever.
About Kate Tym and Kate Dyer
Kate Tym and Kate Dyer have been friends for years. They were wedding celebrants who moved into the world of funerals and, when they did, they quickly became disillusioned with the type of conveyor-belt funeral being offered, and accepted, in most of the UK and the costs attached. They decided to do something about it…. And Coffin Club was born! Coffin Club started in 2017 in Hastings and has gone from strength to strength with another seven clubs in the process of setting up around the country. Kate and Kate’s dream is for there to be a Coffin Club in every town in the UK and for talking about death to become so normal they put themselves out of business!