Death café group set up for Portishead

PUBLISHED: 16:57 17 October 2018

Chiara Lloyd-Yeates with Tim. Picture: Chiara Lloyd-Yeates

Chiara Lloyd-Yeates with Tim. Picture: Chiara Lloyd-Yeates

Chiara Lloyd-Yeates

A support group to help people with their grief has been set up.

Portishead Death Café was created by Chiara Lloyd-Yeates as she felt there was not enough bereavement support available in the town when her husband Tim died.

She said: “Tim died on July 12, 2015, after a seven-month battle with acute myeloid leukaemia. He was 47.

“He was a bit of a local hero in the South West, as he set up the Alive Activities charity, to address the often un-met social, psychological, spiritual and intellectual needs of older people living in residential care.

“Tim had a bone marrow transplant which unfortunately failed, just after we started to feel optimistic about the future.

“He came home and died within three days.

“Unfortunately, there were no support systems in place, because it had all happened so quickly, the team at the oncology centre thought he would have a few weeks.

“I felt completely out of my depth and very alone, it took everyone by surprise.”

Subsequently Chiara, who is 51 and has an 18-year-old daughter, vowed to provide the support she felt she needed and began training with End of Life Doulas and volunteering with St Peter’s Hospice.

She believes the café meetings will encourage people to open up and discuss death.

Chiara, who is an anaesthetic practitioner at the BRI, said: “Running a death café is just another way of bringing the subject to people’s attention.

“It’s very interesting to meet different people and learn about their thoughts and experiences around death, of course there are people who are bereaved, there aren’t many of us who haven’t been touched by loss.

“It tends to be positive, with discussions around life to the full featuring strongly.

“Everyone is welcome and while the conversation isn’t directed, it is part of my role to ensure that those who want to talk get a chance to do so and also to ensure the group understands the importance of confidentiality and that if needs be I can guide them to further support.”

The group’s second meeting is this Saturday, where drinks and cakes will be available from 10.30am-12.30pm. It will be held at the library, in Harbour Road.

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