Talking about death – especially your own – has always been a bit of a taboo but Kate Tym and Kate Dyer have been working to put an end to that with their innovative and fun Coffin Club.
“We make plans for birth, plan our weddings but seem to ignore the one certainty in life – our death! Coffin Club changes all that by getting everyone talking about what has, traditionally, been a taboo subject,” says Kate Tym.
When you hear the two women talk about their mission to break down the taboo surrounding death you’ll be impressed and more importantly you’ll be entertained, because they take away the sombre and the sad and replace it with humour. They have the natural chemistry of the best comedy double-acts and that ability, that comes from being close friends, of being able to finish off each other’s sentences.
The first ever UK Coffin Club has been running in Hastings since last September and this month the Kates are celebrating gaining official charitable status: “That’s going to enable us to continue apace with our fundraising efforts and continue to grow and develop,” says Kate Dyer, “Coffin Club offers a safe space for local people to talk about death, plan their perfect send off and, if desired, customise their coffin.”
There is a whole new session of Coffin Club, it’s third, starting in September. In addition there’s a new venue, a new website and new clubs springing up all around the country.
Coffin Club started in New Zealand, and the Hastings club was the first in the UK: “I think we just hit the zeitgeist,” says Kate D, “people don’t always know they can have more than 20 minutes ‘up the crem’ but more and more they do want to know what their choices are when it comes to arranging their own funeral.”
The third season of Coffin Club will be based at the See Spray Gallery on Queens Road. “It’s a great central location,” says Kate D, “and much more practical for storing a load of coffins!”
“Our coffins are amazing!” says Kate T, “they are flat-packed from a Dutch company and we put them together with an allen key! They are made of ply and have a really low carbon footprint. We love them.”
Having run the course twice already, Kate and Kate have already had a large number of people come to Coffin Club to find out more: “We have had a couple of people who are terminally ill,” says Kate D, “but that’s not everyone’s motivation for coming.
“Most people are neither ill nor that elderly, they just want to take control of their end-of-life celebration – not just have their family hand £4,000 over to a funeral director without really knowing exactly where it’s going and what they’re getting,” says Kate T
With the cost of funerals rising every year – the current average cost of a basic cremation is £3,596 according to insurance company Sunlife. Which is why the two Kates think it’s time for people to take a look at what those costs cover and how to reduce them.
“There are so many ways to bring the cost of your end-of-life celebration down,but, people don’t talk about it until it’s too late. When someone close to you dies you’re in bits and it’s not the time to start thinking outside the box and making creative decisions,” says Kate T.
Getting the message out there. The Kates aren’t shy about promoting their work.
The Kates are an unlikely pair to find at the forefront of the funeral revolution, there’s not a top-hat or frock coat between them they are positively evangelical about changing the approach to death in this country: “We want people to talk about it,” says Kate D.
Kate T adds: “We’re obsessed with letting people know what’s available to them. We actually talk about death all the time,” she laughs, “that’s why we want Coffin Clubs to start up all over the country, so that we can get everyone else talking about it too and change the way we do death!”
Coffin Club runs for six weeks on a Wednesday morning, staring on Wednesday September 12th to Wednesday October 17th. There are different specialist speakers each week and the course ends with a tea-party and a coffin display!
“We want to wave goodbye to dreary old funerals, this is it! It’s a funeral revolution!”
If you’d like to take part in Coffin Club please get in touch with Kate and Kate at www.coffinclub.co.uk or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Kate Tym 07985295373 or Kate Dyer 07790128592