Dont leave it until it’s too late!

  For the last year I have been leading a group of amazing people in Tonbridge who are all committed to making our community one which is dementia friendly. I am passionate about the subject having had a great deal of contact with people who are living with dementia. I had two Aunts and an Uncle who all had dementia and so I witnessed at first hand the difficulties that confronted both them and my cousins as they cared for them. I began my working life as a nurse, working in both of our local hospitals, Pembury and Kent and…

HOW SAFE IS MY FUNERAL PLAN?

Quite recently our local newspaper, radio and regional television was full of reports that fairly made my hackles rise. The reports stated that a funeral director in this area had allegedly sold funeral plans to a local couple and then ceased trading and disappeared with the couple’s life savings of four thousand pounds. It’s reasonable to expect that if this person sold two funeral plans, he is very likely to have sold more and that this is not an isolated incident but the tip of a very large iceberg. You can imagine how we all felt, justifiable anger at yet…

Making Tonbridge a Dementia Friendly Community

By 2015 there will be 850,000 people with dementia in the UK. There are 40,000 younger people with dementia in the UK. There will be 1 million people with dementia in the UK by 2025. If you were to ask most people “what is dementia?” they would probably say “Alzheimers”. To a point that is true; Dementia is caused by a number of diseases that affect the brain, the most common of which is Alzheimer’s Disease. Different types of dementia affect the brain at different rates and in different ways, but other things like someone’s personal circumstances, the people around…

Chris’s Bee Blog or the ramblings of a would bee bee keeper.

  The beegining.(Pedants please note deliberate spelling mistakes) August bank holiday weekend 2014 marks the start of my new life as a beekeeper. My Abbey Funerals blog page seems to have been received much better than I had expected, especially when I ramble on about anything connected with gardens, flowers or wildlife, I thought keeping a blog about this journey might interest some. It will certainly help me to keep a record of how I ‘grow’ as a bee keeper. Bee keeping is something I have been interested in since childhood when I would go with uncle Bill, a cousin…

A world remembers.

        With the centenary of WW1 upon us, I’m reminded of a trip I made a couple of years ago.   We took a few days off and drove from France into Belgium. Shortly after we left the motorway system and began to drive through the lovely Flanders countryside we saw a small cemetery. Surrounded by a brick wall, it housed neat rows of white markers, maybe a couple of hundred or so. A few miles further and there was another, and then another and another until it seemed as if just around every corner another field of…

Candles, Choirs and Stolen Cakes

 “Someday soon, perhaps in forty years, there will be no one alive who has ever known me. That’s when I will be truly dead – when I exist in no one’s memory. “I thought a lot about how someone very old is the last living individual to have known some person or cluster of people. When that person dies, the whole cluster dies, too, vanishes from the living memory. “I wonder who that person will be for me. Whose death will make me truly dead?” ― Irvin D. Yalom, Love’s Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy This quote wasn’t actually…

Orchids among fallen angels

You might think a funeral director visiting a cemetery is a bit of a busman’s holiday. But spending the afternoon in Tunbridge Wells Cemetery turned out to be both an education and really enjoyable. After a morning of violent storms, with my wellies safely tucked in the car boot, I took myself off to the borough cemetery. For once, I wasn’t there to carry out a funeral. I was visiting an exhibition and the launch of the newly formed ‘Friends of Tunbridge Wells Cemetery at Hawkenbury’ Yes, it’s a bit of a mouthful – but there’s another, now disused, cemetery…

Busy bees and big butts.

  Last week I took my Junior Church (Sunday School if you’re over 50) group down to do their bit for Tonbridge. We had made an Easter garden for our Tonbridge Methodist Church this year and the youngsters had so enjoyed the project that it seemed a bit of ‘proper’ gardening was called for. Children can learn a huge amount about our world and the need to care for it by getting their hands dirty in a garden. They, and I, had great fun. We planted Pansies, Sun Flowers and Busy Lizzies. We watered, picked up litter and made some bee…

Coffee, a camera crew and a stopcock

Abbey’s Director Christine Parker reflects: Back in January this year, I went to the Dying Matters Awareness Week launch in London with a colleague from the National Society of  Allied and Independent Funeral Directors. I came away totally inspired to really ‘do something’ this year. Deciding on an event that would work in a rural town in Kent was challenging. What about a Death Café? I wasn’t sure that Tonbridge was quite ready . Coffee mornings seemed a safe bet but even they need a bit of an edge. The more I thought about the message from Dying Matters, the more…