Coffin and Cake café returns to Bognor Regis ice cream parlour to offer support to those in grief

The Coffin & Cake ladies. L-R Vicky, Alison, Erika and KATY (aka Mrs Whippy)The Coffin & Cake ladies. L-R Vicky, Alison, Erika and KATY (aka Mrs Whippy)
The Coffin & Cake ladies. L-R Vicky, Alison, Erika and KATY (aka Mrs Whippy)
After the success of its first event last year, Coffin and Cake is returning to Pinks Ice-cream Parlour in Bognor Regis to offer support for those grieving for a loved one.

Free of charge, the event takes place on Saturday March 18 at 5pm. It’s the day before Mothering Sunday (so especially timely for anyone grieving a mum), and also just ahead of Marie Curie's National Day of Reflection on 23 March.

Coffin and Cake is led by funeral celebrants Erika Biddlecombe and Vicky Edwards, soul doula Alison Wright (soul doulas support people emotionally and holistically at the end of their life) and former nurse Katy Alston, owner of Pinks Parlour. They will be joined by David Holmes, founder of the company Ashes to Blooms, who will speak about his own experience of grief.

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Explaining that the collective hope is to enable people to talk about how they are feeling, no matter how long ago their loss was, Erika said: “Our first session confirmed that being in the company of others who have experienced loss helps people to feel less isolated in grief. It also encourages conversations about death and dying that as a nation we tend to shy away from. The goal is to inspire and to offer support in an atmosphere that is non-judgemental and rich in loving kindness.”

Alison said: “Holding the gathering at Pinks proved really popular. The informality and cheery surroundings of an ice cream parlour made a difficult subject feel much more accessible and created a relaxed atmosphere. The parlour is closed to the general public, so it is an absolutely safe space. Being able to talk openly and ask questions about death and grief should be the norm and we are so pleased to be able to offer a platform for these conversations to take place.”

Facilitating one-to-one and group conversations, there will also be information about other sources of help and support available.

“That we can do all this over a cuppa and a piece of cake or some ice-cream is rather wonderful,” said Vicky. “We are so grateful to Katy and all at Pinks for allowing us to take over the parlour for this very special support group. Places should be booked in advance, just so we can be certain of accommodating everyone, but a warm and gentle welcome is guaranteed.”

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Katy Alston said: “Pinks is always proud to support the community. Everyone experiences loss. I am delighted to be able to offer Pinks Parlour as a continuing meeting place for Coffin and Cake.”

Coffin & Cake is free of charge, but places must be booked. To reserve a place, call 07771 890854 or email [email protected] or [email protected]

The Marie Curie Day of Reflection takes place March 23:

39 per cent of bereaved people reported difficulties in getting support from friends or family. 74 per cent of bereaved people with high or severe vulnerability are not accessing formal bereavement services or mental health support. Source:

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On average, a parent dies every 20 minutes in the UK. Source:

In the wake of COVID-related deaths, many people are still struggling with the loss of loved ones during the pandemic.