As part of Dying Matters Week 2019, Will to Give members reflected on memorialisation.

During our May monthly meeting, which fell during Dying Matters Week 2019, the member of Will to Give took some time to chat about memorialisation.

Memorialisation is Tuesday’s Dying Matters Week topic as part of the #AreWeReady theme.

The definition of memorialisation is, in fact, a ceremony to honor the memory of someone or something.

But we felt it wasn’t just about the ‘ceremony’, there are so many different ways to honour the memory of someone or something.

Our representative from Christian Aid talked about Ellis-Hadwin, who is remembered through a Health Legacy which was set up in her name after she left a gift in her Will of £2.9 million.

This 3-year project will deliver a programme in Africa, specifically in Burundi, Sierra Leone and South Sudan running from September 2016 to July 2020.

The memory of Ellis Hadwin will live on for many, many years to come as a result of her generous gift.

But, not everyone can leave such a substantial gift in their Will and for some dying young means that they might not even have considered how they would like to be remembered.

Following the death of Holly Cowlan by suicide, her sister Anna came up with the inspiring idea of ‘pombombing’ – the displaying of woollen pom-poms in a public area.

Not only to remember Holly, but also to raise awareness of mental health. 

Making poms poms had been a hobby for both Holly and her sister.

You can follow Hollypombombs on Instagram.

We also talked about the way people are honouring the memory of a much-loved pet by leaving tennis balls, toys or treats in an area that their owner and they would have enjoyed together.

We all agreed that this was a lovely way to remember a pet.

We were all familiar with the time old tradition of placing a bench usually in an area of beauty in the memory of a loved one.

One of our members reflected on the mixed emotions of seeing new ‘in memory’ benches in her favourite park. 

She took time to think about the person the bench was in memory of, wondering what about the park they enjoyed the most and if their paths had ever crossed.

We, of course, couldn’t talk about memorialisation without talking about funerals, we reflected on fond memories of funerals, the ones that turned in to a catch-up with family members and friends.

The ones that were a real celebration of life, the ones that moved on to the pub, and the ones that resulted in a sing-song. 

The ones that created their very own memories.

Funeral photography also came up, with one member telling us that he has been asked to take photos at funerals in the past.

We all had mixed opinions on this.

But this article explains why funeral photography is so important for some.

As a group of legacy fundraisers, we were all engaged in the discussion around memorialisation but we did agree that for some of us having similar conversations with our loved ones was not just as easy.

BUT, in keeping with this year’s #AreWeReady theme, we made a promise to each other make an effort to have those all-important conversations with the people close to us.


Will to Give is a unique network of charities working together to encourage people in Northern Ireland to leave a charitable gift in their Will.

For more information about how you can leave a gift in your Will click here.

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