A “death café” will be set up at Kingston Hospital for people to discuss mortality, to mark Dying Matters Week.

With Princess Alice Hospice, the hospital will hold the free event on Friday, May 18.

People will come together to share ideas, experiences, hopes and fears about death in a supportive environment.

Zoe Byrne, deputy director of community engagement at the hospice, said: “With an ageing population we are a nation on the brink of a significant rise in the number of people dying each year.

“Within our care area alone we expect the number of people receiving our direct care and support to nearly double in the coming years. This makes it all the more important to do everything we can to break down the barriers around the issues involved with death and dying.”

Dying Matters Week will run from May 14 to 20, with hundreds of events expected across the country, including another by Princess Alice Hospice at the nearby St Helier Hospital between 2pm and 4pm on May 16.

The week is hoped to open up a national conversation about death, dying and bereavement.

Ms Byrne said: “By empowering our communities to talk to their families and friends openly about their wishes at the end of life - practically and emotionally - we hope to reduce the anxiety and heartache that many people are often faced with when a loved one dies, or when they are approaching the end of their lives.

“The community engagement team has been working with our partners to organise events which offer a safe and friendly space for people to feel inspired to ask difficult questions and think about a subject that will, inevitably, affect us all.”

All are welcome to this free event.

This is not a drop-in session - conversations will start promptly at 10.15am.

RSVP to Paula Lyons at paula.lyons4@nhs.net