Event details

Speed Dating with Death

Find out about End of Life Experiences  - what dying actually looks like, how tissue and organ donation works, hear how to help people with learning disabilities prepare for death and bereavement, get expert financial advice, find out how a poem eased a young mother’s last days and explore disenfranchised grief through the LGBTQIA+ lens. All in the space of two hours. You get the chance to speak in small groups with experts that particularly interest you and then you can continue the conversation over lunch. Watch out for the manic MC with her bell!

Speed Dating with Death

Date & Time:  Saturday 4th November 2023

Location of Event:  Friends' Meeting House, Oxford

Charge:  £12 (£10 conc) + booking fee

Wheelchair Accessible:  Yes


Sue Brayne

Sue Brayne is an author, TEDx Speaker, and host of Embracing Your Mortality podcast. She has an MA in the Rhetoric and Rituals of Death (King Alfred’s, Winchester), and a second MA in Creative Writing (Oxford Brookes), and was Dr Peter Fenwick's honorary researcher for a five-year retrospective study into end-of-life experiences through the Clinical Division of Southampton University. Sue is also the author of The D-Word: Talking About Dying, Nearing the End of Life: a guide for family and friends, and Living Fully, Dying Consciously: the path to spiritual wellbeing.


Rory Collier

Rory trained as a Nurse in the UK in Canterbury qualifying in 2001( Born and bred in Ireland). Worked on a trauma/Orthopaedic ward at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital first before moving to London in 2003 and working in Intensive care/Critical care at University College London Hospitals for nearly 10 years before moving to Oxford in 2012 based in Intensive care at the John Radcliffe but primary role is supporting families through the organ donation pathway.


Kate Butcher

Kate is the current Education Lead for Oxford Centre for Education & Research in Palliative Care: Sobell House. We are a charity focusing on palliative and end of life care education of staff locally, nationally, and with the increase in online learning, also internationally.
Kate’s background is over 30 years’ experience as a Registered Nurse, mainly offering care within community settings, and as a Practice Development Facilitator working with GPs, Care
Home staff, District Nursing teams and Community Hospitals, helping to improve the care offered to people approaching the end of their life.
Kate will be available in this session to discuss symptom management at the end of life, and hospice care (both in hospices and in the wider settings such as acute hospitals and people’s own homes.)

Sue Gorbing (SAND)

Sue Gorbing (Director, Chair of SAND) - a Freelance consultant, trainer and facilitator and Trustee for Shropshire Rainbow Film Festival and West Mercia Women’s Aid.
Extending our joint commitment to EMBRACE A Culture of Inclusion across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin, Cruse West Midlands and SAND (Safe Ageing No Discrimination) have
teamed up to begin looking in detail at the unique experiences of grief which may impact on lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people. Building on ‘universal symptoms of grief’, the partnership has overlayed knowledge and understanding drawn from 10 years of work by SAND looking at the responses of (primarily health &social care) service providers to common issues faced by LGBT+ people in later life, as identified through national as well as local research.
For Kicking the Bucket festival, Sal and I have taken the apt acronym ‘DISENFRANCHISED’ as our starting point to headline areas to illustrate in our presentation, focused on the issues and experiences which may impact on bereaved LGBT+ people – particularly those in later life:
Disenfranchised grief – not recognised, not valued
Isolated and unsupported during bereavement
Support groups are few and networks may be untraditional
Estranged families can be unknowing – even cruel
Next of kin confusions make it easy for family to usurp loved ones
Funeral arrangements, layout and delivery may ignore fundamentals of lives lived
Relationships can be readily undermined – or worse
Assumptions about identity and family structure distract from the person
No tears for the widow who is seen as only ‘friend’
Cultures surrounding death and dying are difficult to challenge
Having to come out in order to receive support
Ignored and unrecognised relationships
Sexuality and/or gender identity sink beneath waves in death
Excluded from key moments and decisions
Discriminated against – be it intended or unintended

(Sue will be joining the session via Zoom link)

Sal Hampson (SAND)

Sal Hampson (Director of SAND) - Freelance Community Development specialist.
Sal will be co-presenting with Sue Gorbing (see above for details)

(Sal will be joining the session via Zoom link)

Mark Barclay

Mark specialises in financial planning, focusing especially on death and tax and appropriately setting up finances for the benefit of loved ones.

Mark's specialties are setting up IHT-efficient schemes, trusts and completing legacy planning and intergenerational wealth planning to aid with gifting and planning.


Alison Waller

Alison Waller is Public Engagement Manager for Oxfordshire Palliative Care Network (OPCN). Her role involves opening up conversations about end of life, dying, death, and bereavement with different communities around the county, often using creative and storytelling approaches. She will talk about a recent project involving people with learning disabilities and autism, and will be available during the session to discuss other work with teenagers and with residents and staff in residential care and nursing homes.
The Oxfordshire Palliative Care Network is a voluntary alliance of organisations providing services and support to people of all ages and their families: through life-limiting illnesses, at the end of life, and in bereavement. The Network members are: Helen & Douglas House; Kate’s Home Nursing; Lawrence Home Nursing Team; Marie Curie; Oxford University
Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUHT)

Rogan Wolf

Rogan Wolf lives near Gloucester, but spent years as a social worker in London, running community centres for people with mental health disabilities. He is a poet and founded a project called Poems for the wall. This supplies poems formatted as posters for public display in schools, libraries and healthcare waiting rooms. Many of the poems are bilingual and all can be downloaded free of charge from the project’s web-site. It has been funded by the Arts Council, the John Lewis Partnership, and the Baring Foundation, among others. 
For some of Rogan’s own poems see https://roganwolf.com