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School hosts sessions tackling death taboo

Youngsters in Burton have been talking to a funeral manager and a local vicar about bereavement in an effort to end the taboo around talking about dying.

Jo Mills (pictured above), Funeral Area Manager for Central England Co-operative, and Reverend George Crossley, from St Mary’s and St Chad’s, spent three days working with 90 children at William Shrewsbury Primary School, in Stretton, as part of special sessions aimed at helping bring bereavement into the spotlight for young people.

As well as answering dozens of questions from the interested youngsters, Jo, who used to be Funeral Director at Wellings Funeral Service, in Burton, talked about a wide range of subjects from planning a funeral to the day-to-day life of a Funeral Director, with Reverend Crossley talking about grief, remembrance and the role of a minister.

She said: “I spent the time explaining to them about my job, what goes into a planning a funeral and how different faiths have different ways of saying goodbye to their loved ones.

“The children were all really engaged throughout the three days and I spent at least an hour at the end of some of the sessions answering lots and lots of questions.”

The opportunity to speak to children at William Shrewsbury first came about last year after senior teachers at the school asked if Jo and Wellings would support such an event.

A detailed plan was then put in place which involved the creation of a presentation, a briefing for parents and approval from the school’s board of governors.

Mike Randles, Head of Year Five, said: “We feel that talking to youngsters about death is an important part of helping them on their journey toward adulthood.

“We reached out through a parent who works at Wellings to see if they would be interested in supporting us and Jo kindly agreed to be part of this important project.

“The three days saw 90 youngsters aged nine to 10 find out about a variety of topics and ask lots of questions.”

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