A new title aimed at challenging the “taboo subjects” of funerals and dying is being launched next year by the former publisher of a wedding magazine.
Farewell magazine is the brainchild of Sue White, who was inspired to make the switch from weddings to funerals after the death of her RAF war hero father James Gault in August 2011.
The quarterly title will have an initial circulation of 20,000 and will be stocked at 120 WH Smith stores, priced £3.95, and at 3,000 funeral homes, cemeteries, hospitals, hospices and solicitors' offices across the UK.
White said that at a time when many long-standing publications were downsizing there was now a “gap in the market” for a title offering an advertising platform for the funeral trade.
Advertisers already signed up include Golden Leaves Funeral Plans, Cooperative Funerals and Colourful Coffins.
Editorial content will include features taking a “look behind the scenes in the funeral industry”.
The first issue, for example, looks at “the process of turning ashes into diamonds, introduces motorcycle funerals, explains what to do when someone dies and pays tribute to an inspirational seven-year-old who touched the hearts of his whole community”.
White, from Chesterfield, is giving up her job as director of White Media to launch Farewell.
White Media has been publishing White Weddings Magazine, which is sold at 370 independent outlets including John Lewis and Debenhams, for the last five years. It also organises weddings across the East Midlands and North of England
But the 54-year-old has now turned her back on the wedding industry to “look death in the face”.
White, 54, said: “I have spent the majority of my planning career working in the weddings industry, which is very much about planning the happiest day of someone’s life. But when I lost my own dear dad I realsed that as a nation we are totally unprepared for what can be the saddest day of our lives.
“Because we don’t talk about death, or funerals, when it comes to planning a loved one’s send-off often we have no idea what they might have wanted, or how to go about organizing it.
“I felt there was a total lack of information about palliative care, funeral planning and memorial ideas and that it was about time we started talking about dying, instead of pretending that it’s not going to happen. Death is inevitable, yet few of us consider it until confrontation is absolutely unavoidable.
“I also felt it was time to lift the lid on the funeral industry – let’s find out what’s changing, what’s innovative and above all what options are available to us when the time comes.”
She added: “We firmly believe there is demand from both readers and advertisers and we're in an unrivalled position to launch this magazine, with nothing else like it in the marketplace.
“We have been delighted by the positive response from the industry which has whole-heartedly bought into the concept of Farewell Magazine and supported the new publication by investing long term from issue one.
“There is a gap in the market for a publication that's both inspirational and informative, something with substance, featuring engaging, well-written stories that our readers will identify with, particularly if they are looking for avenues of inspiration and guidance towards the end of their life.
“The time has come to start talking about death and put aside our own fears about dying. We're all scared of the unknown, but death is the one inevitable element of life.”
Fawell Magazine is also available for subscription via the website www.farewell-magazine.co.uk