When Kate Tym and Kate Dyer brought Coffin Club to Hastings just over a year ago they could have foreseen just how things would take off.
“I think we just hit the zeitgeist,” said Kate Dyer.
Coffin Club is funeral planning with a twist and arrived in Hastings in September last year the Kates who are independent funeral celebrants had heard all about Coffin Club, something that started in New Zealand and decided Hastings was ready for something different.
“People don’t always know they can have more than 20 minutes up the crem, they’re amazed when they find out what their choices are,” says Kate Tym, “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.”
“We’re just finishing our third season and the feedback is always 100 per cent positive,” she says, “our clubbers are enjoying taking control of planning and costing their end-of-life celebrations, it is really empowering.”
And well-know actress Miriam Margolyes has just become Coffin Club’s UK’s patron and has really taken the charity to heart.
“She really loves Coffin Club and has come along and met our clubbers. She gets what it’s all about and has planned her end-of-life celebration and even decorated her coffin with us!”
Kate Dyer explains that they want to prevent people being channelled into only having one type of funeral, finding themselves, at a time of bereavement, being offered package A, B or C and being too emotionally exhausted to think creatively or ask questions, “Coffin Club is about making all these decisions ahead of time so that you get what you want and your family knows what you want, too.”
“We’ve got some Cascade Events coming up for other organisations within our community. So, for those who work with elderly people, or with those who are terminally ill, or carers, they can come along and we’ll tell them all about Coffin Club and all about the options available to people for their end of life celebration and they can then go back and ‘cascade’ this down to their service users,” says Kate Tym who says that to find out more people can go onto Eventbrite and put Coffin Club into the search bar.
Kate and Kate also run Coffin Club Master Classes to teach people from other areas how to set-up and run their own Coffin Clubs, “They’re popping up all over the country now, it’s really starting to gain momentum,” says Kate Dyer.
“We’ve had loads of online coverage and been on BBC South East, BBC 3 and had a local film company, Whalebone Films, follow us from the start. People genuinely want to open this subject up and get talking and planning and know exactly where their money is going,” she says.
Coffin Club is a charity and the Kates say this year is going to be all about raising badly-needed funds. There’s a ‘donate’ button on the website and Coffin Club UK has been accepted for the Aviva funding bid, so, if you’d like to vote for the charity you can go to https://community-fund.aviva.co.uk/voting/project/view/4-2865
“Hastings has always been a place of revolutionaries, think Robert Tressel,” says Kate Tym, “this is another revolution – the funeral revolution!” she says.
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