'What a privilege and a pleasure it was to take part. I had some lovely conversations with strangers and people I had known for many years. It was so good that they felt able to respond to the question 'who are you remembering today? And seemed so comfortable to share their stories.Sometimes a safe time and space is all it takes.'
The craft aspect, the making of cards, and putting up pictures really did capture people's imaginations. It made participation active and personal. It was a pleasure to hear children recalling their grandparents and sometimes great grandparents with their familliies.
One lady told me she had recently lost a husband and especially mentioned the Charlotte Church concert and how helpful it had been to her.'
Members of the St.John's bereavment team
What the visitors said...
'Beautiful presentation and well thought out. Sensitively done. Grateful for no pouncing!'
Really nice atmosphere- warm and welcoming. The lights were lovely.'
"very welcome. Very supportive. Very necessary.'
It's a spiritual space updated. People were able to mill around in their own time. There was reverence but it wasn't stultifying.'
'Very beautiful' 'Calm, serene and peaceful'
'Made me think I might start talking to my grandchildren about dying. Whose going to do that if not me?'
'We loved the wall of photos. Would love to see that joyful approach everywhere.'
'So light, so colourful and uplifting.' 'A really good thing'
'AMAZING' 'Lovely warm atmosphere'
'Something for everyone. Beautifully done.'
'Good to have people to talk to.'
'Really enjoyed it.' 'Very thought provoking- I liked it.'
'Made me appreciate the church building.' 'Revolutionary'
'Many would be put off by it being in a church.' 'WONDERFUL'
'Fantastic to see the church being so flexible'
'Great to see something like this happening in a church.'
'I feel really heartened by this event. Raises my hopes for a future where we have a better understanding.'
'Coming here meant I don't feel so alone in my grief. It has been a healing experience.'
'Hearing about other's experiences (recordings) made me think differently about it.'
'Really inspiring and necessary'
'I just sat and listened to the music. It was great!'
'I found the whole event very moving and was pleasantly surprised by the wide range of people who attended -some coming every day. The light installation sent a buzz around the town and drew many in who then stayed.' Member of the St.John's welcoming team.
Opportunity to fill in a living will
More in practical stuff: what to do about passwords and accounts (social media) of deceased
44 visitors were interviewed about their experience.
26/44 were over 50
11/44 were 25-49
7/44 were under 25
The volunteers were also asked about their experience.