Funeral parlours licensed like tattoo parlours

Scottish Government is introducing a statutory Code of Practice, an inspection programme and a licensing scheme for funeral businesses as part of a regulatory framework to ensure high standards of service. They’ll be working on implementation over 2019/20. In their consultation and investigation they drew an interesting parallel comparing the funeral parlour business model and […]

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Day of the Dead, Hallowe’en and death

What’s the connection between Day of the Dead, Hallowe’en and death?
Day of the Dead is a Mexican festival to remember and celebrate our loved and lost. Making offerings at shrines, grave tending, sharing food and storytelling are all part of the ritual, designed to help heal and remember. Hallowe’en is

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Stand up and be counted, death workers

Three things yesterday – a conversation, an interaction and a presentation – yesterday made me wonder why we don’t talk more about death workers.

At the Everyday Compassion conference in Glasgow yesterday, Kerrie Noonan from Australia’s Groundswell Project sought me out to tell me she’s a fan of Fling. We chatted about what we both do… rogue death champions, working outside the system (mostly).

Kerrie said she prefers to use the term death workers for the likes of us and all the people she encounters in various end-of-life roles.

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Absent Friends Supper

This Thursday, 9 November, I’m hosting an Absent Friends Supper at Kinning Park Complex. It’s free to attend and starts at 6pm.

To Absent Friends is an annual Scotland-wide festival promoted by our friends at Good Life Good Death Good Grief.

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Masters in funerals

The big news today is that Barbara Chalmers, Founder of Final Fling now has a Masters – with distinction – in funerals.

“Well, in reality, it’s an MDes – a Masters in Design Innovation, Service Design – and my final project was on funerals, so I consider it a Masters in funerals,” said Barbara. “I just found out on Friday at our degree show that I achieved a Masters – with distinction – in funerals (as I call it) and I couldn’t be more delighted.”

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The Thing About Funerals Is…

The Thing About Funerals Is… is a two-part exploration of funerals coming up on 24 June and on 7-8 July at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow. Brought to you by Final Fling, they will both give breathing space for the public to engage in conversations, reflection and provocations about how we say our goodbyes.

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A Time to Live – documentary about dying

Perfectly timed to keep up the momentum of Dying Matters Awareness Week, is next week’s A Time To Live: a documentary about dying. It airs on BBC2 on Wednesday at 9pm. “I met with documentary maker, Sue Bourne in March last year,” says Barbara Chalmers of Final Fling. “On the back of making the very successful film The Age Of Loneliness, the BBC asked Sue what she wanted to do next. She wondered what it would be like to live in the light of a terminal diagnosis and was looking for help to reach out for participants. I was glad to help and reach out to members of the Final Fling community – people who are engaged with the process of living and dying.

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Spirituality and belief

Final Fling’s Founder, Barbara Chalmers, is exploring Spirituality and Belief as part of a Masters in Design Innovation at the esteemed Glasgow School of Art:

I imagine that spirituality and belief comes into sharp focus for many of us when we are facing mortality… in our daily reflections, at times of heightened awareness, when we’re coping with death, dying and loss. Spirituality might feel like a need or gap. It might feel like a support or crutch. Belief might help make sense at a confusing or troubling time.

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Tribute to Ian Smith

This week, we share a tribute to Ian Smith, the focus of this month’s Festival of Ian Smith at Summerhall artspace in Edinburgh. Ian co-founded Mischief La Bas.

6 years ago, Friend of Fling Barbara Millar, now an award-winning funeral celebrant, wrote a review of the work of Ian Smith at the launch of The Briggait, the stunning artspace at the heart of Glasgow’s city centre, where Mischief is still based.

Barbara kindly shares her article as a tribute to Ian Smith.

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The right to be forgotten

Listening to BBC’s Moral Maze, I’m struck by the notion of the emerging need for the right to be forgotten. For the longest time, we had few ways of marking “I was here”. An individual could come and go in life and barely leave a trace.

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Memento mori

I was in Naples recently. Wherever I go, I can’t help looking for cemeteries, memorials, memento mori… symbolic reminders of mortality, life, death. And so that’s a total Mission Possible.

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Cost of funerals in Scotland

At the end of 2015, Scottish Government commissioned Citizens Advice Scotland to produce a report about the cost of funerals in Scotland. Final Fling met with authors John Birrell and Fraser Sutherland in December to talk ‘funeral poverty’ and feed into the report.

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Women Do Death Differently

10 years ago, it occurred to me that maybe women do death differently. That’s when I bought the domain name,  Final Fling, in the hope that I could contribute in some way. We’re more about emotional engagement than transaction. We’re collaborative, supportive, we cut to the chase and focus on the important things. We’re good at […]

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Centre for Death and Society, Bath

The Centre for Death and Society (CDAS) is part of Bath University and was set up in September 2005. CDAS carries out research on all aspects of death, dying and bereavement… how we deal with mortality and face death and loss, how society ‘does’ death and the rituals around it, how policy-makers deal with death and regulate, relationships between the living and the dead, the impact of death on our lives, poverty and death, inequalities, technology, culture.

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Dying to Live

If you’re dying to live – or even more, if you’re not dying to live – maybe because of hard times, emotional stress, confusion, illness – we think you ought to treat yourself to Dying to Live workshops that take place in Dorset in November and Cornwall in June each year. Read more about them and book now for early bird rates.

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You Only Die Once …

To mark Dying Matters Awareness Week with its #yodo theme (You Only Die Once), Final Fling urges you to Take 5. With a simple 5 minutes you can make big inroads into starting end of life plans. You might even find you enjoy it!

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