EAST Hampshire is to get its first two ‘death cafes’ this year.

Although the name may sound a little macabre, it will be designed as a warm, welcoming place to help people affected by terminal illness, or nursing a loved one with a terminal illness, to deal with bereavement.

The cafe will be run by two ladies who are well qualified as Wendelien McNicoll is a palliative bereavement counsellor with a private practice in Alton and Diane Opio a palliative care nurse at Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice in Farnham.

They are due to open their first café in East Hampshire at Winton House, Petersfield, on May 22 and the Alton one at the Allen Gallery in July.

Both cafes will be open from 7pm-9pm.

The café will serve tea and cakes and be a place for people to come and talk with each other about facing or looking after someone with terminal illness or coping with grief.

By sharing such sad experiences, it is hoped that attendees will find strength and comfort from each other.

Wendelien and Diane will be on hand to welcome everyone and make sure they talk with each other.

“But we won’t be giving counselling as such,” said Wendelien, “as the object is for people to talk and share their experiences, but we can give advice on making a living will and other such matters.

“We know that people welcome the opportunity to ask the questions they have not been able to ask before and that they find comfort in knowing that they have much more power over how they approach the end of life.

“There is always coffee and cake, which we know is comforting when talking about a difficult subject matter, and that is why we are there to facilitate discussion,” she said.

Death cafes can be found all around the world and there are several in the UK, but the ones in Petersfield and Alton will be the first in East Hampshire.