A FUNERAL celebrant and burial ground founder has joined forces with the Swindon Festival of Literature to mark National Dying Matters Week.

Westmill Woodland Burial Ground is backing Home Death, a play and reading by author Nell Dunn at the Arts Centre tomorrow Burial ground founder Liz Rothschild is also planning a free event called a Death Cafe at the same venue next week, when all will be welcome to come and talk about issues surrounding death and dying.

Westmill Woodland, off the A420 near Watchfield, is a green burial ground for people of all faiths and none.

Liz said: “Home Death is a funny, poignant and thought-provoking play about the realities of choosing to die at home, written by award-winning playwright Nell Dunn after her own experiences when her partner died.

“She wanted to write about some good deaths and some bad deaths, and to ask why it is when 70 per cent of us want to die at home only 30 per cent of us do.”

The reading tomorrow at the Arts Centre, which starts at 12.30pm, will be followed by a panel discussion with Nell Dunn, Liz, Diana Melly – widow of veteran jazz performer and author George – and Dr Kate Tredgett, who is palliative care consultant at the Prospect Hospice.

The Death Cafe will be held at the Arts Centre on Tuesday from 4pm to 5.30pm.

Liz said: “It is a chance to come along and chat about anything related to death and dying over a cup of tea and a cake.

“Since the first one was run in the UK these have spread like wildfire. Over 100 have taken place in the UK and also in a number of other countries.

“It’s not recommended for those recently bereaved but this can be an ideal opportunity to ask questions and share feelings with others wanting to talk about these things.

“The event will be supported by staff from the Great Western Hospital with experience of working with bereaved families.”

The burial ground will host an open day on Saturday, June 8 from 2pm to 5pm, with all welcome to find out more about its services.

Further information about those services can be found at www.woodlandburialwestmill.co.uk, while further information about Death Cafes is available at www.deathcafe.com.

Tickets for Home Death at the Arts Centre tomorrow cost £7 with concessions £6. Call 01793 614837 or visit www.swindonfestival ofliterature.co.uk.