OLD Town cafe Cakes and Ales was packed yesterday afternoon as patrons gathered to take part in the Death Cafe.

From 4.30pm to 6.30pm, so many people turned up to the event that the facilitator, Liz Rothschild from Westmill Woodland Burial Ground, had to turn some away.

During the afternoon people could enjoy a cup of tea and piece of cake from the cafe while they took part in the free two-hour cafe, and discussed with each other their experiences of death and dying, although the event was not recommended for those who had recently been bereaved.

In groups they talked through their questions, concerns and stories about the subject, with a sense of humour that was proved to be a common trait in every participant.

A death cafe is a relaxed, informal event with an emphasis on listening as well as speaking, aiming to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their finite lives.

It is not a grief support or counselling service, but an opportunity for strangers to gather and discuss the subject with no agenda, objective or theme in a confidential space.

Liz Rothschild also set up the Kicking the Bucket festival in Oxford, and is a trained Shadowork coach.

For more information about the death cafe movement, visit www.deathcafe.com.