A new service that helps people in Nairn cope with the practical side of death and dying has seen a great level of interest, and is now hoping to reach even more people with a different kind of family day out in Nairn Community Centre on May 25th 11:30-4pm. Its objective is to get people to think about their own death now, in order to lessen some of the practical pressures for those they will leave behind.

There will be something for all the family, including story telling and other activities for children.

People are urged to go along and take advantage of the free advice and information being offered by over 20 local businesses and organisations about practical, legal, financial and medical arrangements they can make for illness and death.  Free talks with the experts will be available on Funeral Rituals, Wills, Power of Attorneys and other legal questions, Anticipating your Care, the work of a Soul Midwife, making your D-Day File, how adults can best help children when a loved one is dying.

People will have the opportunity to try a wicker coffin, make a dreamcatcher, write a message on the Tree of Life, try their hand at celtic spiral drawing and take part in the global public art project “Before I Die”1. Michael and Maria Start, better known to Nairn residents as the House of Automata will bring their latest production from the Flying Starts Flea Circus2 “Life is Flea-ting” prepared especially for the event.

The event is a joint initiative by Nairn Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and NHS, Highland Health and Social Care Partnership with financial support from Highland Council.

Kate MacLean, Community Development Officer for Services for Older People explained that the intention of the event is to share information and knowledge, and is hoping that people will take the opportunity to attend the event and find answers to some difficult questions.  “There are mysteries and fears around death and dying in Scotland. In many cases people are less prepared practically, emotionally or spiritually for death than they could be and this can cause difficulties for them and those close to them for years. Much fear and many difficulties can be removed by people making arrangements while they are well. “

Nairn CAB Manager Gill MacLean says, “This initiative is all about giving people straightforward information3, and showing them the practical steps they can take now that will reduce pressures one day on their family and friends. We deal with the issues sensitively and practically. We’re not out to frighten or depress anyone, or to force anyone to do anything they don’t want. All we do is give you the information, and its then for you to decide what you want to do with it. In fact, the mood of the campaign so far has been quite bright and positive. People are happy to feel they are helping their families – because that’s exactly what they are doing. Indeed, it’s not only about death. It’s about helping your loved ones get through what will be a very difficult time for them. Who wouldn’t want to do that?”

This event is part of the first national campaign to raise awareness of the need for Scotland to become a place where people can be open about death, dying and bereavement.4  It is a first for Nairn and the only event of its kind in Scotland.

 In conjunction with this event, in the evening at the Nairn Little Theatre there will be one of only two performances in Scotland of  “Etiquette of Grief “5,  a playful and provocative solo show by performer Ellie Harrison coming to Scotland for the first time. Ellie takes audiences through the sometimes uncomfortable, but also funny and peculiar, rituals of mourning, offering coping mechanisms, moral support, a little musical accompaniment and even a large splash of port.


  1. 1.    Scotland-wide Before I Die Wall

Before I Die is a global public art project that invites people to reflect on their lives and share their personal aspirations in public space.

Begun by artist Candy Chang (after losing someone she loved) and friends on an abandoned house in the New Orleans neighbourhood, the project is about remembering what is important to you and creating public spaces that better reflect what matters to us as a community and as individuals.

Our vision for GLGDGG Awareness Week (13-19 May 2013) is to see Before I Die walls pop up all over Scotland. This could be on the main streets of cities, outside village halls, inside office buildings… wherever one of our members can get permission to put a blackboard. In Nairn, this will be at the Nairn Community and Arts Centre during May 2013.

  1. 2.    Flying Starts Flea Circus

Pictures of the The Flying Starts Flea Circus are available at http://automatomania.co.uk/circus/ The Flea Circus has previously performed at the Brit Awards in the O2 Arena,.London.

3.    Examples of information that has been of interest to CAB clients


  • many people do not know that if they become ill or have an accident their “next of kin” does not automatically have legal power to make decisions about them or to access their bank accounts.
  • if people do not make a will their possessions may not automatically  go to those people closest to them, even if they have lived together for many years.


  1. 4.    National Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief Awareness Week


This event is part of the first awareness week and is the only event of its kind in Scotland. http://www.goodlifedeathgrief.org.uk/content/awareness-week-events/


The awareness week is an initiative of  the Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief Alliance working to make Scotland a place where there is more openness about death, dying and bereavement so that:

  • People are aware of ways to live with death, dying and bereavement
  • People feel better equipped to support each other through the difficult times that can come with death, dying and bereavement

Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief was established by the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care and is hosted by that organisation. It provides a network, resources and ideas to help organisations to raise public awareness of ways of dealing with death, dying and bereavement, and to promote community involvement in death, dying and bereavement.


  1. 5.    Etiquette of Grief                        

25 May 2013, Nairn Little Theatre, Nairn

12 November 2013, The Arches, Glasgow

The Grief Series are delighted to announce that Ellie Harrison’s playful and provocative solo show, Etiquette of Grief is coming to Scotland for the first time in 2013 as part of its second UK tour:

These performances are supported by Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief.

For Further Tour Dates, information and reviews – please visit: www.griefseries.co.uk

“Breathtaking” **** Yorkshire Post

Etiquette of Grief is a playful and provocative solo show by performer Ellie Harrison, who takes audiences on an irreverent journey and suggests a guide for dealing with both private and public grief in all its gory and glorious manifestations.

In a piece which is both heart-wrenching and heart-warming, Ellie explores the wide-ranging emotions that follow an overwhelming loss and the ways in which grief touches us all, in a distinctive, interactive and powerful performance that includes her on screen alter-ego, in a celebration of our freedom of expression.

This thought-provoking performance asks questions about the nature of public grief, often witnessed when a famous figure dies: does the British ‘stiff upper lip’ help or inhibit how we deal with our emotions, and is there such a thing as a collective identity that effects how we grieve?

Ellie takes audiences through the sometimes uncomfortable, but also funny and peculiar, rituals of mourning, offering coping mechanisms, moral support, a little musical accompaniment and even a large splash of port.