New sympathy cards are an inspired idea

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Lancaster gift shop Arteria has become one of the first places in the country to stock bereavement cards with a difference.  

The Inspired Goodbyes collection of cards were launched earlier this year for ‘Dying Matters Awareness Week’ at a London event chaired by Lancaster solicitor Gary Rycroft, partner with Joseph A Jones & Co Solicitors, based at Fenton Street in the city.

Gary said: “Instead of the usual “deepest condolences” or “with sympathy” sentiments, each of the cards, which all have a contemporary design, has a message, offering to help with practical chores, to go for walks in the countryside, to listen and, above all, to be there.

“I’ve been a customer of Arteria since Jane opened the shop 10 years ago so when I saw the cards, I knew the fact they are not run of the mill would appeal to Jane and I suggested she stock them.” 

The new range of cards from Inspired Goodbyes is part of the national ‘Being There’ campaign, set up by the Dying Matters Coalition to support people to say and do the right things when someone has been bereaved. 

Inspired Goodbyes was set up by Sophia Lucop-Leech and Helen Lawson, both of whom have experienced personal bereavements.

Sophia’s husband Mark died aged 43 from cancer in 2013, whilst Helen’s brother Andrew died in 2000 aged 33 in a motorbike accident.

Helen Lawson from Inspired Goodbyes said: “We are delighted that Arteria has joined us in bringing bereavement cards into the twenty-first century.

“Too often bereavement cards are banished to the bottom shelf of shops, and it can be a real struggle to find something suitable to send.

After experiencing bereavements ourselves we wanted to change this, which is why we’re so pleased to have launched our cards and to be supporting the important work of Dying Matters.”

Claire Henry, chief executive of the Dying Matters Coalition, added: “Every minute someone in the UK dies, but the importance of being there to support people who have been bereaved is too often overlooked.

“Whether it’s through sending a bereavement card, telling someone you are there for them or providing practical help you can make a real difference when someone you know has been bereaved.”

Jane Richardson, managing director at Arteria, added: “We are delighted to be stocking such well-thought and sensitive bereavement cards and to be supporting the important work of the Dying Matters Coalition in the process. While none of us like to think about dying, that’s no reason to avoid talking about it or showing you care when someone you know has lost a loved one.”

The National Council for Palliative Care, which leads the Dying Matters Coalition, will receive 25p from every card sold, which will go towards supporting its work.