About us

Barbara Chalmers achieved a Distinction for her Masters in Design Innovation in funerals at the Institute of Design Innovation, Glasgow School of Art [photo Elaine Livingstone]

Final Fling is the home of life + death decisions – find out more about us.

Final Fling is the go-to community at a critical lifestage: death.

  • Final Fling is tackling death – the last taboo.
  • Final Fling wants to ‘do death better’.
  • Final Fling wants to be to death what Mumsnet is to birth. The Trip Advisor for your onward journey.
  • We want to make end of life planning as normal as pension planning and life insurance.

See what the media think of Final Fling. 

Final Fing is Barbara Chalmers – a passionate advocate for doing death better; life coach, death coach, celebrant. See what folks have said about her pacy presentations:

  • “You knocked it out of the park” Glasgow School of Art assessor of B’s award-winning Masters in Design Innovation on 21st Century Funerals
  • “We were were blown away by you” Futures Symposium on Health & Wellbeing
  • “Best speaker of the day” Vegfest organiser
  • “Dynamic and spirited” Death Doula conference attendee
  • “Energetic and uplifting” Bath University participant
  • “Knowledgable and fun” NHS consultant
  • “You talk too fast and you sound so Scottish” (B’s sister who lives in New York – what does she know)

What Final Fling offers 

  1. Life Planning Tools to sort your affairs
  2. Marketplace to find celebrants, funeral directors and more
  3. This Big Fat Blog with tips on dealing with a death, organising a funeral and more.

Life Planning Tools 

Fling’s FREE tools are easy to use and offer a secure space to store essential info and share it with next of kin:

Hear Founder Barbara Chalmers talk with Jenni Murray and Emma Freud on Woman’s Hour and talk to Dani Maimone on Brooklands Radio at the launch of Clandon Wood Natural Burial Reserve.

See a whistle-stop tour, a one-minute guide to Final Fling with Barbara telling how she uses the site.

Final Fling’s values

Final Fling does bold, spirited, creative, pragmatic. (We don’t do mawkish, maudlin, macabre.) We’re empowering. We embrace death as a natural counterpoint to life. We promote openness: think, talk, share. We promote personalisation and choice: ‘I did it my way’. We promote taking control and having peace of mind. We aim to put‘rich’ back into ‘ritual’.

Barbara’s backstory

Barbara hold a Masters in Design Innovation focussing on funerals. In 2017 Barbara achieved a couple of impressive gongs…

  • a distinction for her Masters in Design Innovation (Service Design) from the Innovation School of the world-renowned and prestigious Glasgow School of Art
  • Chairman’s Medal for Innovation (best student at the Innovation School among 50 international students)
  • Innovation School’s inaugural Innovation by Design prize for use of design as a means of exploring how we deal with end of life care and funerary practices

Here’s her end-of-life journey so far

I bought the domain name Final Fling in 2006 after another bad funeral. A funeral should be a Final Fling, a celebration of a life, I thought to myself after poor Auntie Nellie’s drab funeral … it felt nothing like this colourful inspiration, a woman of action who ran a travel agency in the 60s, was a one-woman party – always tanned, always laughing, dazzling in cork-soled sandals, the bearer of fresh raspberries and tubes of condensed milk in a world of mince and tatties.

Four years later an email pinged into my Inbox to tell me the domain name was about to expire, asking, did I want it? I revisited the idea. What was I thinking? I didn’t want to be a funeral director. I didn’t want to be the one shouting at the caterers. What did I want? I wanted to use my communication skills to champion change, tackle the taboo, help the 97% of people who don’t shop around for a funeral to be more informed consumers; do death differently… prepare for a potentially hellish time in a creative, spirited, pragmatic way.

I did a year of research and launched Final Fling in 2012. I trained as a life coach. I trained in Rites of Passage. I’ve become a Humanist celebrant. I’ve done Care of the Body training and shadowed funeral directors. I launched Scotland’s first Death Cafe  in 2013 and run them quarterly. I ran a symposium for the public and third sector on Doing Death Differently with Lauren Currie of Snook. I presented a paper at Bath University’s Centre for Death and Society on the Commodification of Death and Dying. I helped launch Clandon Wood’s natural burial ground. I ran a Trade School event for the Social Care Ideas Factory for end of life planners. I organised Scotland’s first Day of the Dead Festival and events annually for Dying Matters Awareness Week and Scotland’s Absent Friends Festival since 2014. I’ve crossed over work with my consultancy, Plan B Collective, a strategic communication consultancy: I carried out a feasibility study into the need for support around loss in schools, trained NHS palliative care consultants in media relations and advised national bodies on how to communicate about death. I made a series of films with the Institute of Research and Innovation in Social Services about How to Talk About Death.

Back in 2012 when I launched Final Fling, I chanced my arm on BBC’s Dragons Den. Boy they hated me!

Deborah Meaden "It's not going to work"

"We'll see about that" B's quiet retort to Deborah Meaden's "It'll never work"

“It’s not going to work” said Deborah. “We’ll see about that” B’s quiet retort.

What do they know. Final Fling was quickly named “Best new website” and 5 star rated by Web User Magazine up against giant brands like Nintendo and in September I picked up “Most Outstanding Contribution to Understanding Death” from the esteemed Good Funeral Guide.

The death movement has grown since 2012 and I like to think we’re a lot to do with that. I have links across the world with like-minded folks … with some who aren’t like-minded at all but have a completely different take on death – that’s good too. There’s room for all of us.

 

See a profile of B on LinkedIn and a personal profile.

See Death Movement for more info about what Final Fling and others do.

Subscribe to our blog.