Wiltshire villagers asked to write their own obituaries

Constance Reed, Editor of Lydiards Magazine
Image caption The 87-year-old editor said the idea would save her "a great deal of work"

Residents of a Wiltshire village are being asked to write their own obituaries for their local magazine.

The Lydiards Magazine is a monthly publication which covers the village of Lydiard Millicent.

Each month it features an obituary and its 87-year-old editor, Constance Reed, is finding it hard to keep up.

"With an obituary every month, it would be useful to the rest of us left behind if people would prepare their own obituaries before they die," she said.

"When friends and family are grieving they don't really want to be sitting around working out your life story."

'Rely on the vicar'

The number of middle-aged and older residents in the village, just west of Swindon, is above the national average.

Ms Reed, who has been editing the publication for the past 25 years, thinks it would save a "great deal of work" if everyone wrote their own obit.

"At the moment I have to rely on the vicar after the funeral to slip me the notes on the life of the person," she said.

"So I can get the material like that but it takes a lot of time."

In the March issue of the magazine, residents were asked to write their own 400-word obituary and submit it in "good time".

'List of lovers'

Despite the appeal, the publication has yet to receive an obituary.

Even Ms Reed has yet to write her own, although she does know what she would leave out.

"My list of lovers," she said.

"Mind you I don't do too badly now because I've got one of those disabled parking badges - so I get a lot of people taking me out and I know jolly well it's because I can park for nothing near the entrance."

With the incentive of being able to "make yourself look good" and "say what you want to say", Ms Reed is hoping residents will put pen to paper for future generations.

"A copy of our magazine goes every month to the records office in Chippenham," added Ms Reed.

"So everybody should write one because the next generation is going to want to know what happened and what it was like to live in Lydiard Millicent."

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