Published Monday 5th June 2017

A terminally ill mother from Hereford will have a Hawaiian-themed send-off after featuring in a video to encourage people to talk about death and dying.

Brenda Kelly, 57, made the film during a respite stay at St Michael’s Hospice in Bartestree. The video, which has been seen by over 9,600 people on social media, includes a sequence with Brenda talking about her wish to have the Wedding Song from the Elvis Presley film Blue Hawaii played at her funeral because of the memories and spirit it evokes.

Brenda’s daughter, Jo Kelly said, ‘When mum showed us the video we asked her if she wanted was a Hawaiian funeral and she told me she did. So, we are going to ask people to dress in bright colours and wear Hawaiian garlands. We will also continue the theme at the wake with Hawaiian cocktails and colourful decorations.’

Talking about her funeral has also brought the family closer together and has helped Brenda cope with her illness and make the most of every day. ‘Being told I have cancer was a complete shock. I feel I’m too young to die, but the staff at St Michael’s have been brilliant. I don’t know where I’d be without them. Nothing is too much trouble, and they have been a great comfort and support to my family and me.’

St Michael’s Hospice Chaplain, Jill Groves, said, ‘Talking to people about dying is a very important part of the Hospice service, and it’s reassuring to hear that the conversations we have had with Brenda are making such a positive difference to all the family.’

The video was made as part of Dying Matters Awareness Week, which is a national campaign raising awareness of dying, death and bereavement.

If any well-wishers would like to help Brenda and her family by donating garlands or other Hawaiian-themed decorations, please contact Chris Smart at St Michael’s Hospice on 01432 851 000.