WYRE Forest charity KEMP Hospice is challenging people to talk openly about death as part of a week-long national Dying Matters campaign.

During Dying Matters Week from May 13 to 19, KEMP will be asking people the question 'Are We Ready?' and setting up activities to get people talking.

The charity will be hosting conversation starter sessions at its base in Mason Road for staff and volunteers, as well as a day for the public at Rees Community Cafe in Kidderminster town centre on Thursday, May 16.

The event will see KEMP staff and volunteers offering practical advice and encouraging people to have honest conversations about death. The charity will be joined by Worcestershire Association of Carers, Attwood Funeral Directors, district organist Tim Morris and local artist Jo Bloom, who will be getting people to creatively share their thoughts on dying as well as creating light-hearted lasting memories of loved ones.

KEMP Hospice CEO Heidi Hawkins said: “The theme of Dying Matters Awareness Week this year is 'Are We Ready?' and we will be encouraging people to talk openly and honestly with their friends and loved ones about dying, death, bereavement and being prepared.

"It’s time for people to stop seeing death as a taboo subject. After all, talking about it won’t make it happen.

"Asking ‘Are We Ready?’ will challenge everyone. Are we ready to help people we know who are caring for someone who is dying? Are we ready to support someone who is grieving? Are we ready for our own deaths, or the deaths of those we care about?

"Have we planned a funeral? Written a will? Do your loved ones know your wishes? Do you know theirs? Have you looked at recording your memories? Do you know what to expect when someone dies? Do you know where you can get bereavement support?

"We know from research that most people haven’t taken care of the practical aspects and, even for those that have, the emotional aspect of being ready for death is challenging.

"These questions are best faced with the help of others.”

Heidi added: "Awareness campaigns like Dying Matters Week allow us to talk openly and events like our Midnight Memories Walk on June 14 through the Wyre Forest allow us to share the joy, love and memories of our loved ones.

"Our Midnight Memories Walk is a chance to share what we remember of those friends and family members who have died, so that they live on.

"Death is a natural part of life and I hope that people will take part in our activities so that they know that together we can all care and support one another.”

KEMP Hospice will be at Rees Community Café next door to Kidderminster Town Hall on May 16 between 10am and 2pm, as well as outside the KEMP Hospice shop in Bewdley on Friday, May 17.

Anyone wishing to take part in the Midnight Memories Walk can register online at kemphospice.org.uk/midnightmemorieswalk.