Liz Rothschild celebrates the work of the Natural Death Centre, and their great magazine – see left
Coming of age at 25 the Natural Death Centre has been at the sharp end of making change around death and dying for a long time. It was the first organisation to start speaking truth to power about how things are done in the funeral industry and also encouraging people to see how different it could be. It was set up by the charismatic Nicholas Albery and his partner Josfine Speyer and was originally run from their home. They also initiated the Befriending Network that now operates in so many places around the country offering visitors to people living with a life limiting illness and a number of other original and creative initiatives. The Natural Death Centre now receives 40,000 emails and calls a year many of them wanting help with finding ways to have funerals that are less expensive and more personal. They have received 28M hits on their excellent website www.naturaldeath.org.uk since it began and on average 300,000 hits a year and rising. Visit it to see why.
They are a source of non commercially motivated impartial information about funeral directors, direct burial, coffins and shrouds and burial grounds. They have 25 years of experience and their staff have been involved with the project for most of that time in one way or another. From their office in Hampshire they punch way above their weight in terms of impact and are now the go to place for comments on the subject when news stories arise to do with death and dying. Join their band of over 12,000 twitter followers. Many people including me have everything to thank them for. I would not have had such a well supported and easy passage into starting Westmill Woodland Burial ground had it not been for Rosie Inman Cook’s determination and sound, practical advice and the camaraderie of the Association of Natural Burial Grounds set up by the NDC.
They need our support. They are run by a small dedicated team. One paid worker working way beyond her allotted hours and long-term highly committed and skilled Trustees. Just a few days ago they helped a family I am working with to arrive at a solution they had not considered and eased their grief and sense of overwhelm through some simple, wise advice offered gently without any pressure. This is repeated every day again and again. Their funding is all by donation and from earnings from their excellent Natural Death Handbook (available directly from them), green burial grounds who are ANBG members and through their newly opened burial ground on the Surrey border. They need another worker to meet the demand for the work they do but currently do not have the resources. If you have a spare few thousand lying around do think about sending them there. I raise my glass for all they have done and all they will do in the future.
Free subscription to the online magazine at http://www.moretodeath.co.uk