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A week-long festival aimed at challenging the taboo around death and dying will return at the end of the month.

The Art of Dying Well by Mountbatten will explore death, dying and bereavement through a series of performing arts workshops and events.

The programme includes Mountbatten’s Day of the Dead, featuring a parade in Ryde, inspired by a Mexican tradition, which views death as a celebration rather than a day of sadness.

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Nigel Hartley, Mountbatten’s Chief Executive, says:

“We know and understand why death and dying are challenging subjects for many people, mostly due to fear, denial and a lack of knowledge.

“Encouraging conversations about death and dying is part of our work at Mountbatten and we hope the Art of Dying Well will support and give confidence to people to start some important discussions.

“We are all going to die and planning ahead for that time means less certainty, more comfort and carrying out our wishes.”

The Art of Dying Well will celebrate a Day of the Dead on Saturday 2nd November with a mask and sugar skull-making workshop in Ryde, which will be followed by the parade in Ryde High Street. That will be followed by a Mexican-themed meal and spoken word event at Monkton Arts, Ryde.

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The programme also includes a special Death Chat at Mountbatten and a tour of the Isle of Wight Crematorium, before a concert at Newport Minster featuring the Mountbatten choir on Wednesday 6th November.

Nigel adds:

“I would like to thank the wide range of people who have been involved in supporting us to make this event happen.

“We believe it is such a vital issue, one that can make such a positive difference to people at what can be a very difficult time.”

The programme will be available from Mountbatten Hospice, Newport, Mountbatten shop, Ryde and Monkton Arts, Ryde. It can also be downloaded at


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Az-zahra Aziz
Az-zahra Aziz

Like many, sadly I have had the deep sadness of having someone more than close to me die at the Hospice, and the care, kindness and attention, given to this person by the staff was such a comfort to the person, AND all the family.

They keep the atmosphere ‘light’ adding a sense of normality to a very unreal time, which gives strength to those of us left living, helping us all cope with the sadness and loss.

They must hear every day how wonderful they are, and likely just smile, as to hear it so frequently they perhaps don’t understand that their care extends far, far more than just for the dying person, but to all those comforted in the days and months and years after the loss, knowing that at least their loved ones were cared for so very well.

This may not be obvious at the time to the wonderful staff, as shock, fear, and deep sadness and a sense of disbelief hangs over the loved ones, making the visits seem unreal. We joked, said things which may have seemed perhaps not always appropriate, but this was done to keep others spirits up as well as our own.

So Thank you to all those who work there, I know that those who will never utter another word, but have been in your care, if only for a short time would say so, if only they could.

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