DeadSocial are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted in the Good Funeral Awards 2013. We would like to thank the person(s) who put us forward for this very prestigious award and for The Good Funeral Awards for shortlisting us. We have worked ridiculously hard over the last year and half to develop DeadSocial and create a service of value.

We still have a lot to do however we have been overwhelmed with the support shown by users, end of life professionals and the funeral industry alike. The specific award that we have been nominated for is the Best Internet Bereavement Resource award. Other organisations (including our friends at The Natural Death Centre) who have also been shortlisted for this award can be found below:

  • - The Compassionate Friends for: Say Their Name 
  • - Right Choice Funerals
  • - DeadSocial
  • - The Natural Death Centre
  • - Evans Above Online
  • - Pre-need Funeral Planning


Good Funeral Awards

Winners will be announced by Pam St Clement (most famous for her role as Pat Butcher in Eastenders) at a dinner in the Ocean View Hotel in Bournemouth on Saturday 7 September. DeadSocial will be attending for the weekend and we look forward to catching up and meeting with new faces. A full list of the weekends activities and tickets can be found by clicking here.

The Good Funeral Awards


During Social Media Week 2013 DeadSocial will be hosting two very different events ‘Death, Digital Demise, Community & Digital Legacy’ is an event aiming to explore society’s changing attitudes and behavior in relation to ‘end of life’ and mourning. It will be examined from the context of todays’ connected world from a number of differing perspectives.


DeadSocial will then be supporting Lawrence Darani’s unique workshop. Lawrence is a terminally ill existentialist interested in exploring death both in the physical and virtual world. Lawrence & DeadSocial will be working together to expand workshop previously developed by Lawrence. 'What is it about death that scare us? will help us address death mentally before it comes knocking. This workshop will then help attendees to become ready for death both in the online and offline world. Both events are free however there are a limited amount of tickets for both. Tickets will first become available at 9am on Wednesday 14th August


- Death, Digital Demise, Community & Digital Legacy. Full information here:

- What is it about death that scare us? Full information here    

DeadSocial’s CEO James Norris and ambassador Lawrence Darani will be presenting at Dying Matters annual, Mexican Day of the Dead Showcase. It will take place between 1.30pm - 7pm on the 1st November 2013

Dying Matters 

Celebrating The Day Of The Dead

1.30 Registration & refreshments


2.00 Chair’s Introduction & a personal reflection about the Mexican Day of the Dead Tony Bonser, Chair of People in Partnership, The National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC)

2.10 Events, however big or small, Dying Matters to us all
 Karen Newman, Secretary to the Community Consultant in Palliative Medicine, Trinity Hospice & Palliative Care Services
 Jo Nicholls, Learning & Quality Compliance Co-ordinator, Trinity Hospice & Palliative Care Services

2.25 A Civil Celebrant’s responsible approach to the Dying Colin Nolan, The Celebrant

2.40 An interactive session of ideas from coalition members A round table discussion to look at Dying Matters members’ biggest obstacles when raising public awareness

3.00 DeadSocial's Popup Shop for Dying Matters Awareness Week James Norris, DeadSocial & Lawrence Darani, DeadSocial

3.15 On and off the bus...Dying Matters let’s talk, let’s plan
 Jayne Hanner, End of Life Care Co-ordinator, South Locality, Sussex Community NHS Trust, Sandra Vargeson, End of Life Care Coordinator, West Locality, Sussex Community NHS Trust Chris Banks, End of Life Care Coordinator, North Locality, Sussex Community NHS Trust

3.30 Tea and Coffee and a chance to visit the exhibitions, view the work of the students from Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham College, place a photo of a lost loved one on the altar (please note photos cannot be returned so please bring a copy). Please also use this opportunity to participate in the displays- tell us what you did for Dying Matters Week, and any ideas you may have for 2014!

4.00 Panel Discussion: Overcoming Obstacles
Following on from the earlier round table discussions, an opportunity to address and discuss Dying Matters members’ obstacles further and look for solutions
: Chair: Sam Turner, Director of Stakeholder Relations, NCPC & the Dying Matters Coalition Eve Richardson, Chief Executive, NCPC & the Dying Matters Coalition 
Joe Levenson, Director of Communications, NCPC & the Dying Matters Coalition
 Mandy Paine MBE, Dying Matters Champion (TBC)
 Noleen Turner, Marketing Manager, Education & Finding Space, St Joseph’s Hospice

Day of the Dead Smile4.30 Learning from the Mexican Day of the Dead: Our School’s Approach School children from Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham College (TBC)

4.45 New Resource: I Didn’t Know That
 A Short Film from the Dying Matters Coalition

5.05 Steve Evans presents: “Nearly dying, not the end of the world but you can see it from there!” Steve Evans, a person with personal experience

5.25 Chair’s closing remarks

5.30 Celebrating the Day of the Dead

 Download the full programme and booking form

Booking Day of the Dead Conference details

* Due to limited funds Dying Matters asks that all attendees pay a small charge of £35 to cover the costs of the event refreshments 

- Book online instantly via the Dying Matters website / Alternatively, you can return the booking form to Joe Meredith via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Fax: 0207 6971 530

Les & Helen Brown

High school sweethearts and husband and wife of 75 years Helen and Les Brown of Long Beach, California, died within one day of each other earlier that month. They were both 94.

Les had been long suffering from Parkinson’s disease and Helen was dealing with stomach cancer. Helen was expected to live a few more months, but died on July 16. Les, who had recently fallen into a coma and was not aware of his wife’s passing, died the next day.

While Les and Helen’s deaths coming in such quick succession may be difficult on their family, their synchronicity was nothing new. The two even shared a birthday. Their son, Les Jr., says:

“They really enjoyed each other’s company. They were really inseparable and were never apart.”

Les & Helen Brown death

In high school, neither of their families anticipated the relationship would last, much less turn into a three-quarters-of-a-century marriage, because of their different socioeconomic backgrounds. Les’s father was a successful businessman in Southern California; Helen’s father worked on the railroad. Says Les Jr.:

“[Love] knows no barriers and seems to know no bounds. They were from different sides of the tracks and it didn’t seem to matter to them. After 78 years, they were very much in love.”

Les & Helen Brown's Wedding DayHelen and Les eloped; Les became a photographer, and Helen a housewife with real estate acumen. The couple raised their sons, and through the decades enjoyed being grandparents and great-grandparents.

According to those who knew them well, they worked on their marriage and were deeply committed to one another and the bond they shared. Owner of Long Beach store Ma N’Pa Grocery Zach Henderson saw the Browns almost daily. He said:

“About a year ago, [Helen] had her hand on his face and they were cheek to cheek. She said, ‘Isn’t he the most handsome man you’ve ever seen?’ That’s exactly how they were. They were full of love and passion.

The Good Funeral Awards 2013 recognise outstanding services to the bereaved for those whose lives are at an end. Nominations are open but CLOSE ON THE 31st JULY. There are 15 very different categories to nominate people and organisations in. 

The Good Funeral Awards 2013 Categories are as follows

- Most Promising New Funeral Director

Embalmer of the Year

The Eternal Slumber Award for Coffin Supplier of the Year

Most Significant Contribution to the Understanding of Death

Crematorium Attendant of the Year

Best Internet Bereavement Resource

The Blossom d’Amour Award For Funeral Floristry

Funeral Celebrant of the Year

Cemetery of the Year Award

Gravedigger of the Year

Best Funeral Arranger

Funeral Director of the Year (in ass / with The Bereavement Register)

Best Alternative to a Hearse

Lifetime Achievement Award

Green Funeral Director of the Year (in ass / with GreenAcres Woodland Burials)


Good Funeral Awards

It takes two seconds to make a nomination. Nominations can be made here:  Anyone can nominate a person or organisation for an award. Winning an award is highly respected within the funeral and end of life sector. As with all industries excellence should be admired and celebrated, this is especially true for funeral care.

The winners of the awards receive a trophy and a certificate in recognition of their achievement.

This years awards will occur on the evening of Saturday 7 September 2013 and be presented by Pam St Clement the iconic actress best known for her role in Eastenders as  Pat Butcher.

 Nominate a deserving organisation or individual. It only takes 30 seconds or so to do so.


     The Good Funeral Awards

      Future of Hospice Care


Yesterday Help The Hospices Commission ran an interactive event in London exploring what hospice care looks like today and where is could be in 10 to 15 years time. It addressed our changing requirements and highlighted areas that are currently working well and those that need to be improved. In short it asked the umbrella question:  "What should end of life care look like?"

Industry experts and those who have used hospices or end of life care participated throughout. There was no hierarchy to proceedings and each attendee was able to put forward suggestions and give feedback based on their own experience and expertise.


Help the Hospices Future of Hospice Care Wall


Attendees were encouraged to write down areas that they would like to debate and pick a city (group) to debate them in. Once Cities attained subject matters to discuss they soon started to fill up with willing participants.


Deciding which City (group discussion) to join


Trying to decide which City (group discussion one should join)
Participants were encouraged to move freely between Cities whenever they wanted to.
Social Media and Hospice Care Feedback
The event was well run and interesting throughout. Everyone’s feedback was documented and overtly shared.  The feedback created during the day will help supplement the findings already attained by the Commission.
Outline of The Commission's findings
  1. Hospice care is a good thing and has a role of end of life care in the future
  2. Hospices needs to reach more people and needs to look after people who have traditionally not had access to hospice care. It then went on to state that Hospices needs to work differently with careers in the future
  3. Hospice care needs to be better integrated with other services. They have grown up separately to traditional healthcare infrastructures. This has allowed innovation to occur. However this now needs to integrate. Ideas around staff sharing, skill sharing etc will be explored further
  4. Hospice care could do much more to assist care in other contexts. For example at home, at hospital etc, training in the community
  5. Hospices need to become more rigorous and  engage users within research.  “Hospice care is often delivered via “old messages”.
  6. Hospices must continue to address dying, death and loss but also people wanting to  live well.
  7. Hospices need to attain feedback and work strategically with partners.


New social media accounts have been created solely to discuss the future of hospice care on Facebook and Twitter



Jack Rooke is a stand-up performer, poet and radio presenter. During Dying Matters Awareness Week 2013 he popped into DeadSocial’s popup shop and very kindly performed one of his pieces in-front of the “Before I die I would like to...” wall.

Jack is the editor of ‘RoundUp’ (the Roundhouse Radio’s flagship magazine show) and has created work for the likes of The Independent, The Guardian and Channel 4.

Jack’s material explores everything from death and the quirks of bereavement to the fear of a testicular cancer check! The piece below addresses how people treated him soon after the loss of a family member.  

Jack is the co-founder of ‘Save The Male’. The ‘Save The Male’ showcase is a comedy, music and poetry night to help raise awareness of CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) a charity set up in the UK to combat the suicide. Suicide is the biggest killer of British males under the age of 30 

This summer Jack Rooke will be performing at Bestival, LeeFest, Lounge On The Farm, Camp Bestival, The PBH Edinburgh Fringe etc. Jack's full listings canbe found here

Calm seeks to:


- Offer immediate support to men who are down or in crisis (via a free phone helpline).

- Challenge a culture that prevents men seeking help when they need it, and challenge the stereotypes that prevent men talking about the issues they face.  CALM want to change attitudes so that men feel able to seek help for themselves and create a climate of public opinion so that it’s acceptable for them to do so.

- Push for organisational change so that CALM can better support those seeking help, support those who suffer from bereavement, and discover more about male suicide.

* Call: 0800 58 58 58 (to speak with someone)

CALM's national helpline is open 7 days a week, 5pm to midnight.  Callers can talk through any issue, CALM will listen and offer information and signposting. Calls are anonymous & confidential and won’t show up on your phone bill. Calls are free from payphones and from mobiles on 3, Virgin, Orange and Vodafone networks.

Translation facilities are available on request, to use the Text Relay, dial 18001 + 0800 585858.


UCB MediaJames Norris (DeadSocial's CEO) will be interviewed on United Christian Broadcasters on Friday 19th July. It will be aired the following week (we will let you know as soon as the broadcast time and date has been confirmed). 

It will be aired on the UCB current affairs programme featuring news from across a wide spectrum. These range from stories in the news, to exploring serious life issues , seasonal stories, cultural features and social issues.

The interview will aim to find out what DeadSocial is, how it works, why it’s useful and what the idea was behind the service. The interview will then conclude by addressing what happens to your virtual information and social media profiles when you die?  

You will be able to listen to the show nationally on DAB radio, Sky 0125, Virgin Media 914, with via the iPhone application. More information at UCB Media

Charity Sunshine Tillemann Dick is an American-born soprano. She has performed in opera houses and concert halls across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Charity is also a survivor of a double lung transplant, which she received at the Cleveland Clinic in September 2009. She continues to sing professionally and also shares her remarkable story of triumph, determination, and love for music.  This is Charity speaking at TEDMED 2013.

- Become an organ donor in the UK:

- Become an organ donor in the USA:


Hugely moving video breaking down how we spend our lives (average lifespan of an American is currently 28,855 days). This video uses Jelly beans to visualize the time we have and what we spend our time doing.

Data via:


Leverton & Sons have been Independent Funeral Directors in London since 1789. Richard Putt one of the Directors at Leverton's has answered some of the most fequently asked questions (FAQ's) that he and other funeral directors in the UK encounter. 


- Can I be buried in my own garden?

- How much does a funeral cost?

- How much does it cost to be buried?

- How much does it cost to be cremated?

- Do you need a funeral director? 

- How can I find out about natural burials & woodland funerals?

- When someone is cremated are all of the ashes given to the relatives from their loved one?



I am breathing

"I AM BREATHING is a documentary about the thin space between life and death."

The award-winning feature documentary I AM BREATHING is playing a major role in a unique global event that will take place on the 21st June this year. As part of Global Awareness Day for motor neurone disease (MND), also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, the film will appear on screens worldwide from Australia to Ukraine with the aim to promote awareness and raise funds for MND research. The UK premiere of I AM BREATHING on the previous day, 20 June, at the Edinburgh International Film Festival will celebrate the launch of this campaign.

Screenings can be hosted by anyone and have already been booked in more than 20 countries the following day. The documentary and awareness for the condition will receive a global push across the globe including in the USA, Iceland, Russia, Estonia, Poland, China, India, Kenya, and Mexico. 

- I Am Breathing

Neil Platt ponders the last months of his life. Within a year, he goes from being a healthy young father to becoming completely paralysed from the neck down. As his body gets weaker, his perspective on life changes.

“Its amazing how adaptable we are when we have to be. Its what separates us and defines us as human beings.”

Knowing he only has a few months left to live, and while he still has the ability to speak, Neil puts together a letter and memory box for his baby son Oscar. How can he make sense of the last 34 years? How can he anticipate what Oscar might want to know about his father in a future Neil can only imagine? He tries to tell the story of his life from his memories and impressions of love, friends and motorbike rides.

Neil faces Motor Neurone Disease with incredible humour and honesty, determined to share this last stage of his life through a blog, which touched many people. With his posts forming the film’s narration, I AM BREATHING tries to listen to Neil as he asks “what makes us human” in the last months of his life.

Motor neurone disease has been described as the last truly incurable disease of the modern day, and in the vast majority of cases it is fatal. MND is a rapidly progressive and fatal disease. It can affect any adult at any time and attacks the motor neurones that send messages from the brain to the muscles, leaving people unable to walk, talk or feed themselves. The cause of the disease is unknown, and there is no known cure

Sometimes films just demand to be made, even if they are difficult. This was one of them. The film was prompted by Neil himself. He wanted to communicate about his experience with MND in the last months of his life. He already had an ever-increasing audience for a blog he was keeping and wanted to reach out further. This in itself was not reason to make the film. Who he became in these last months is what seemed to demand to be communicated. Filming this stage of life is full of ethical dilemmas and questions. We let these questions and interrogations help guide us and shape the structure of the time. It became clearer how to form it when we used Neil’s own words from his blog to tell the story, not just of his body – which was failing – but of his mind and imagination which was limitless, witty and compassionate. We set ourselves the task of asking how the film could get under his skin whilst still respecting the “unknowable” nature of his experience.

- The Motor Neurone Disease Association 

The Motor Neurone Disease Association is the only national charity in England, Wales and Northern Ireland that funds and promotes global research into the disease and provides support for people affected by MND. It is only through collaboration that a cure for MND will be found and we organise the world’s largest conference for MND researchers and clinicians. We offer a life-line through accessible information and practical day-to-day support to enable people with MND to live with their diagnosis and achieve the best quality of life possible.

* Find a screening near you or host your own screening by visiting


DeadSocial were recently featured on 'Click'. Click is the BBC's flagship technology show aired on both TV and radio.  You can watch the snippet about DeadSocial by clicking on the play button below:

During Dying Matters Awareness Week we ran a free coffee pop-up shop and hosted a series of events and workshops on Camden High Street in London. This is a video is a montage put togetehr with some of the footage attained over the week.  

More information at

Music performed live by Tim Watt


Musical taste is often described as a reflection of oneself . It is therefore not surprising that many of us have thought about the songs that we would like to have played at our funeral. 

Marie Curie recently ran a poll to out what the most desired funeral songs are within the UK.  As you would expect the songs chosen varied across many genres however ‘top ten’ most wanted funeral songs in the UK can be seen below. The poll was ran during Dying Matters Awareness Week

Marie Curie

The Funeral Chart 2013 – UK Top Ten:

1 Frank Sinatra “My Way”

2 Gerry & The Pacemakers “You’ll Never Walk Alone”

3 Eric Idle “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”

4 Sarah Brightman Andrea Bocelli "Time to Say Goodbye”

5 Queen “Don’t Stop Me Now”

6 The Jam “Going Underground”

7 Queen “Who Wants to Live Forever”

8 Pink Floyd “Comfortably Numb”

9 Meat Loaf “Bat out of Hell”

10 The Beatles “In My Life”

Stating which song you would like to have played at your funeral is a very easy thing to do and yet many of us have not done so. If you are not really interested in music and do not care as to which songs are played at your funeral then this should also be stated in your will. This will make things easier on those left behind when arranging the next steps. 

We have been told of many cases when those left behind feel under even more stress and pressure as the deceased didn’t state what kind of funeral they would like or the songs that they would like to have played.

To do this task simply tell your wife, husband, partner, son, daughter, etc TONIGHT! 

...In the mean time, "take it away Frank"


About Dying Matters: 
Dying Matters ( is a national coalition that aims to help transform public attitudes towards dying, death and bereavement. It is led by the National Council for Palliative Care, and has over 30,000 members including charities, care homes, hospices, GPs, funeral directors and legal and financial organisations.

About Marie Curie Cancer Care
: Marie Curie Cancer Care is one of the UK’s largest charities. Employing more than 2,700 nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals, it provided care to more than 35,000 terminally ill patients in the community and in its nine hospices last year and is the largest provider of hospice beds outside the NHS. Around 70 per cent of the charity’s income comes from the generous support of thousands of individuals, membership organisations and businesses, with the balance of our funds coming from the NHS.

Marie Curie Nurses:
 The charity is best known for its network of Marie Curie Nurses working in the community to provide end of life care, totally free for patients in their own homes.

The right to die in place of choice
Research shows around 63 per cent of people would like to die at home if they had a terminal illness, with a sizeable minority opting for hospice care. However, more than 50 per cent of cancer deaths still occur in hospital, the place people say they would least like to be. Since 2004 Marie Curie Cancer Care has been campaigning for more patients to be able to make the choice to be cared for and die in their place of choice.



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