Wick woman’s mission to break down death stigma

Mandy Paine, centre, being hailed at the Woman of the Year in 2013
Mandy Paine, centre, being hailed at the Woman of the Year in 2013

AN INSPIRATIONAL campaigner battling to break the stigma surrounding death will be dedicating her latest awareness week to her late father, Ken Oates.

For years, Wick resident Mandy Paine has been raising awareness of bereavement charity Dying Matters.

The 53-year-old has taken part in countless campaigns – all while fighting her own battle against a life-limiting form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

And on Tuesday she is launching her next drive in Littlehampton, which will see her working almost non-stop until next Saturday.

The grandmother-of-one, said: “I lost my dad four weeks ago, aged 85, and my mum a year ago so I know what it’s all like.

“What I really want to do is to just get people talking about death and about Dying Matters. I want people to be able to talk about getting their wills written and telling their families about their funeral wishes.”

She said she often helped others with a terminal or life-limiting illness to cope with their conditions.

However, she felt many people found it difficult to talk openly about death.

“I man a phone, 24/7 and I get called sometimes five times a day,” she added. “A lot of people don’t know where to turn and where to go. They’re frightened.”

Mrs Paine, will be kicking off her event at Tesco Littlehampton, in Broadpiece, where she will be manning an awareness stand between 10.30am and 3.30pm.

On Wednesday, she will be at Hobby Craft, in Angmering, from 10am to midday.

However, her largest event will take place next Thursday at the Coco Lounge, in Cliffton Road, Littlehampton.

Throughout the day she will be having a pop-up desk packed with information and fundraising buckets.

She will also be selling a delicious range of home-made cakes, tea, biscuits.

Mrs Paine, of Selwyn Avenue, will finish her week next Saturday, at Morrisons in Wick, from 10am to 4pm.

She is encouraging as many people as possible to come along and support one of her events.

“Death shouldn’t be a sad thing – it will be a sad thing – but if you’ve prepared properly you should see the positive side to death,” she added.

Dying Matters is a coalition of 30,000 members across England and Wales which aims to help people talk more openly about death and end-of-life planning.

For further information, see www.dyingmatters.org