In a first for Hastings, members of the public are invited to customise their own coffins at a unique event.
The Coffin Club will be heading to St Mary in the Castle from September 13 to October 18 and offering the chance for people to decorate their own coffins in a way that is personal to them.
Run by Kate Tym and Kate Dyer, independent funeral celebrants, the Coffin Club has been named as a finalist in The Good Funeral Awards, for best death-related public engagement event.
Kate Dyer said: “We want people to be aware of the choices they have when it comes to celebrating a life.”
Kate Tym added: “There are actually very few rules around funerals, and having a personalised coffin is a really special way to reflect the uniqueness of the person inside.”
Based on a model that has successfully run in New Zealand, the Coffin Club offers elderly people, those who are terminally ill, or the people who care for those people, a safe space to personalise their coffin.
Kate and Kate supply industry-standard cardboard coffins for club members to decorate and some materials to decorate with. The rest, they say, is limited only by your imagination.
Along with making and doing, Coffin Club, which runs for six three-hourly sessions, will include talks from people working within the funeral business.
Ms Dyer said: “We’re the first Coffin Club in the UK, which is really exciting, and we’ve already been listed as finalists in this year’s Good Funeral Awards. We’ve got Funeral Directors coming along, and someone from a Natural Burial Ground, along with a coffin supplier.
“We’re hoping to organise a little trip out to the crematorium too.”
The coffins themselves are from Earth to Heaven suppliers. They are flat-packed cardboard coffins, with solid bases that meet the standard required for cremation or burial in the UK. They are 6’4” long and can bear a weight of up to 23 stone – so are going to be suitable for most people.
Ms Dyer said: “The best bit is that they flat-pack again at the end for storage, so you can stick your coffin in your loft until you need it.”
The Coffin Club will take place on Wednesdays from September 13 to October 18, 9.30am to 12.30pm. It costs £150, which includes your coffin and initial decorating materials. Visit www.kateandkatecelebrants.co.uk for more information.