COVID-19 has changed the ways we are able to share stories and solace, so the 2020 festival looked different from in previous years. Communities found new ways to come together - gatherings were smaller and more distanced, and more took place online. In these difficult times, the To Absent Friends Festival remained a valued opportunity for sharing memories and human connection.
Sunday 1 November, 4pm
Portobello Beach, Edinburgh
Those affected by loss are invited to gather together outdoors, around individual bonfires on Portobello beach.
Organised by Action Porty in conjunction with Life Celebrant Loretta Dunn, mini bonfires on the beach can be booked (FREE) for up to six people from up to two households. Each fire will be spaced out from others to ensure social distancing and those round the fire will also be able to social distance as needed but still enjoy the warmth of the flames. The fires will be lit ready to welcome you at 4pm and will burn for approximately an hour to allow for story-telling and remembrance.
Book your space HERE.
1-7 November, North Argyll Carers Centre
North Argyll Carers Centre are inviting bereaved carers in North Argyll to write a message to a loved one they have lost on a lily petal.
The lilies will then form a beautiful light installation which will be suspended within North Argyll Carers Centre, and can be safely viewed from outside throughout the week of the Festival – ‘Lilies to Remember’.
The event was inspired by the Napier University and Edinburgh community installation - Life, Death and Lilies that first took place in 2017.
The lilies will be officially lit at 7.00pm on Sunday 1st November, and will be lit again on the evening of Friday 6th November for passing viewers.
1-7 November 2020
This remembrance walking trail will feature QR codes, placed at various points in Perth and Kinross, that people can scan with their phones to upload images and stories of remembrance.
Contributions will be gathered from local communities and there will be a To Absent Friends bench placed at a central point in Perth City. The Truacanta Selfie Wings will be a feature on the trail.
Sections of the walk and people’s reminiscences will be filmed and made into a short video for people to share on social media.
For more information contact Emma Oram
Sunday 1 November, Eddleston Village Hall
Eddleston Cafe Conversations is being developed as a resource for the community. It will provide a non-judgmental space for people to ask and discuss the big questions about living, dying and grieving. It is built on the understanding that the community is made up of people with different experiences and expertise who, through sharing, can help support each other through challenging times.
At this inaugural event, people will be invited to remember Absent Friends in any way that they find comforting, such as through poetry, music, pictures, humour, or silent reflection. Candles will be lit and participants will be invited to contribute a painted stone which will be laid in a special place within Eddleston Village following the event, as a lasting tribute.
1-7 November, Dundee West Church, Perth Road, Dundee.
The invitation is open to everyone to come along that week and leave a message of thoughts and love about loved ones lost. There will also be an open book in which people are invited to leave messages of support to others.
The messages will be hung on various trees around the church hall (to allow for social distancing).
There will also be an opportunity for participants to sit in a quiet space should they need a little reflection time.
Memory books will be available for participants to take away and create their own special book. When restrictions eventually ease, there are plans to bring people together and share any stories and memory books at an intimate social event 'DRYve for LIfe' at Roseangle Cafe, Dundee.