Students, staff and celebrity visitors added their hopes and dreams to Dorothy House’s Before I Die wall for Dying Matters Week and Mental Health and Awareness Week.
Olympic champion Amy Williams and James Moore, Acting Head of Creative Learning at the Theatre Royal Bath, were among the first to write on the wall on Tuesday May 9th.
The team from Dorothy House set up the wall, a four-sided chalk board, just outside the entrance to the college.
Life goals written on the board included humorous and profound thoughts, shedding a light on peoples’ life goals:
• Live the life I choose
• Hold a panda
• Become a meme
• Have the power to give peace to the world
• Write a book
• Sail the Whitsundays in Australia
• Make pancakes for everyone
The wall was popular at lunchtime, with people gathering to read, photograph and discuss what others had written.
Dorothy House, based in Winsley, near Bath, offers end of life care to patients and support for their families.
Before I Die walls were inspired by Candy Chang, a New Orleans artist who created the “Before I Die…” wall concept.
After losing a close friend, she channelled her grief and began working on an abandoned house in her neighbourhood. She covered the crumbling house with chalkboard paint and stencilled it with the prompt, “Before I die I want to…”
Dying Matters Week aims to get people talking about death, which can be a taboo subject, and to make it easier for people to talk about end of life care.
Amy Williams, Olympic Skeleton Champion and TV sports presenter, who left her own mark on the wall, said: “I always like to encourage young people to follow their dreams and set life goals, that’s why I’m glad to support Dorothy House’s ‘Before I Die…’Wall event and meet the students and staff at Bath College. The subject of death and dying is too often ignored by society so any effort to bring it into normal conversation has to be a good thing.”
Laurel Penrose, Principal of Bath College, said: “We are delighted to invite the local hospice, Dorothy House, to come and meet our students to help them understand why it’s important to talk about death and dying.”
Stephen Dale, Head of Community Partnerships at Dorothy House Hospice Care, said: “Our ‘Before I Die’ wall aims to encourage everyone to focus on living life to the full and exploring their dreams and hopes for the future.
“It also helps to start a conversation around death and dying with young people and helps to normalise the subject as part of everyday life. This event provides an opportunity for the college community to come together and focus on their life goals and how they want to make their mark on the world.”