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2020 Festival

The festival committee and team have been busy planning the 2020 festival since last year. We were about to send the programme, featuring around 80 brilliant events, to be printed just before lockdown was announced and it became apparent the festival in its planned format wouldn’t be possible. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the subject of death, dying and bereavement is just as sensitive as ever. However, we believe it is still important to talk and be open about these things. We want to encourage anyone who feels able to join in to do so. Basically, if you want to be informed and express yourself or simply listen to what others have to say, you’re very welcome. 

Although most events are postponed or canceled, there are still some events going ahead in a virtual format. You can find information about these below…

Events & Resources


– Dead Good Cake ‘n’ Chat – Death Cafe (Google Meet)
Friday 15th May, 3pm

Settle down with a virtual or, much more enjoyable, real piece of cake and a cuppa; forget about waistlines! There are much more important things to worry about, never more so than in these uncertain times. Join us in conversation to ask questions/convey useful information and let’s try to help each other cope during these difficult weeks and months.

There are three ways of joining in as follows:

1. By computer – simply paste the following link into your web browser: (Unfortunately this will not work in Internet Explorer)

2.Tablet or smart phone – download the ‘Google.Meet’ App from your App store to a tablet or phone, open the app and enter the code: yjr-ypva-our

3. Phone only – alternatively, you can join by phone by ringing 020 3956 9463 and entering the following PIN: 552 908 008#‬

– Soul Midwifery
Saturday 16th May, 11am

Hear from Sylvia Wagner Bottomer about the role of a Soul Midwife on Saturday 16th May at 11am on Zoom.

Topic: Soul Midwife Talk

Time: May 16, 2020 11:00 AM London (BST)

Join Zoom Meeting using this link:

Password: 2qcDpK

Or alternatively open up Zoom on your browser or phone and enter the Meeting ID: 756 9148 7104 and Password: 2qcDpK

If you have any questions, feel free to email 

– Essential Oils for Grief Support

Monday 11th May 2pm and Thursday 14th May 9pm

Viv Chamberlin-Kidd, a Shamanic Practitioner based in York, will be doing two live events on Facebook discussing the benefits of essential oils, the essential oils she used while her father was dying, and how they helped during her grief.

Monday 11th May, 2pm –

Thursday 14th May, 9pm –

Viv can also be contacted on or 07951 943774 if anyone would like more information about using essential oils for grief support.

– The Afterlife Experience

Sunday 17th May, 11am

On Sunday 17th May at 11am, Medium Lindsay Banks will be running a 45 minute talk and demonstration. Link and details TBC this week. 


– Downloadable List

We have put together a downloadable list of books (fiction and non-fiction and for adults and children), films, podcasts and more that deal with topics from terminal illness and suicide to dealing with grief and introducing the idea of death to children. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but is designed as a good starting place or conversation starter. It can be downloaded here and shared, amended and added to. We hope it helps.

– Bereavement Support

St Leonard’s Hospice in York are currently running a five-day-a-week telephone bereavement support service, which can be accessed by anybody aged 18+ going through a bereavement. They also have many resources on their website. Find out more here. 

– Dying in a Digital World

Author and Psychologist Elaine Kasket was set to be a speaker at this year’s festival. She is an expert in death and the digital. Her book, All the Ghosts in the Machine, discusses your digital footprint, legacy and afterlife. Elaine also has a YouTube channel with a range of videos on topics such as planning for digital legacyusing technology to say goodbye, and remote connection with the dying during COVID-19

– Nutrition and Grief

Sabine Horner is a Nutritional Therapist who specialises in the importance of nutrition during bereavement. She posts lots of recipe ideas on her Instagram page and she also hosts cooking videos on her YouTube channel

– The Ambulance Wish Foundation UK

The Ambulance Wish Foundation has its origins in the Netherlands where it has been fulfilling wishes for terminally ill patients for many years. We were looking forward to an event with The Ambulance Wish Foundation UK in York as part of the festival but you can find out more about the charity on their website.

At present they are not carrying out wishes as they normally would due to social distancing rules etc., however they are trying our best to fulfill virtual wishes, for example a video message from a favourite person.

In York they have also been sending out care packages to hospices, hospitals, care homes and more, and in London they have been helping another charity deliver meals to the vulnerable.

– Next Door But One

Next Door But One is an applied theatre company who bring people together, foster connections and make audiences and participants realise that we’re all a lot closer than we think! The talented group have held playback theatre sessions, improvising pieces based on audience experiences, and have performed plays, such as last year’s fantastic ‘Colder Than Here’ which captivated audiences at the festival. 

They were due to bring a new production to audiences this year, but have received funding to be able to deliver this digitally in the near future. Watch out for ‘Operation Hummingbird’ coming soon. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter and keep an eye on their website for updates. 

– Humanism UK

We were due to have talks from Humanist Celebrants as part of the festival. You can find out more about humanism here and find out more about non-religious funerals here.

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