Friday, 1 March 2013

Death; Be Prepared!

As Derek Twine, ACEVO member, Scouts CEO and Chair of our Governance Commission would say. Well generally, if not in the context of death.

So, well done to Jane Collins, ACEVO member and CEO of Marie Curie on their latest publicity campaign on getting people to talk about death. She gave a superb interview on BBC about their campaign, which is based on a survey of the public who said they believe we all need to be better prepared for death so that partners, relatives and friends know what our final wishes are. Sometimes this is left too late because we are embarrassed to talk about this difficult subject, despite its inevitability.

I'm glad to say I'm prepared. Probably over prepared, as I shall undoubtedly live for many more decades based on family longevity. But you never know; so burial plot booked, will written, details of music and readings for Requiem Mass, Eulogies and Champagne after specified. Type of headstone (based on the great Cotswolds stone markers of the Mitfords's in Swinbrook) sorted. My talented PA (currently running a half marathon in Paris) was shocked to discover that amongst my saved documents is my Obituary. Important not to leave this to chance or all sorts of lies and nonsense may appear (references to modesty, charm and such like are referenced). The detail of days closure of the office ( naturally including NCVO) are proposed , as are how long ACEVO staff will be in black. Why, all this is as good as planning one's wedding. 

 Of course, Jane was making a serious point about death and the work of Marie Curie in supporting people and families at the end of their life. All surveys show that people choose to die at home, supported by professionals and comforted by their close ones, yet our NHS denies people choice. Our NHS fails to properly commission hospices, and amazingly, the Government seem to be debating whether to enact proper regulations to support managed and regulated competition, which ensures a fair playing field so we can commission better palliative care.

Good luck to Marie Curie and all of our ACEVO members working in this field. March is, of course, Marie Curie's Great Daffodil appeal. Support them!

Stephen Bubb

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