St Elizabeth Hospice has officially unveiled its ‘Before I Die’ art wall on Ipswich Waterfront to mark Dying Matters Awareness Week 2023.
Located opposite DanceEast, on St Peter’s Dock, the installation encourages the local community to write, in chalk provided, their ambitions for what they wish to do before they die, in a ‘bucket list’ style piece of art.
St Elizabeth Hospice Chief Executive Office, Judi Newman and Hugh McElhinney, the hospice’s Volunteer Community Manager, cut the ribbon to officially unveil the wall on Friday 5th May, alongside Ipswich Mayor John Cook and Dr. Guy Peryer (University of East Anglia) who leads on coordinating the Compassionate Communities project in East Anglia.
Hugh McElhinney, Volunteer Community Manager at St Elizabeth Hospice, said: “We are so pleased to bring the ‘Before I Die’ wall initiative to Ipswich and hope this unique idea will encourage the community to open up conversations with friends and loved ones concerning death and how we can all support one another with death, loss and grief.
“Thank you to Ipswich Borough Council and Art Eat Events for their support with making this possible and a special thank you to all the hospice volunteers who have helped with the painting of the Before I Die wall.”
The 8-metre wall will be on Ipswich’s Waterfront for the month of May, coinciding with ‘Dying Matters Awareness Week’ (8th-14th May), an annual national initiative which encourages communities, individuals and organisations to come together and open up the conversation around death, dying and bereavement.
Messages have already been written on the wall. These have ranged from dreams of Ipswich Town FC to win the Premier League through to pledges to marry loved ones.
The ‘Before I Die’ wall is a global participatory art project and in Ipswich will contribute to the missions of St Elizabeth Hospice and its facilitation of the ‘Compassionate Communities’ work in the local area.
Dr. Guy Peryer said: “Engaging with the ‘Before I Die’ wall can help us think more about our goals, dreams, and aspirations. It can be a source of motivation, and provide some direction when making key decisions.”
As well as opening up conversations, the ‘Before I Die’ wall, also signposts the community to other support services via a QR code included alongside the mural.