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A father-of-five has organised his own funeral before his death in a bid to celebrate the life he has lived on his own terms. 

At just 57 years of age Aberfeldie Bowls Club president Nigel Thompson gathered his friends and family together on March 31 for his wake, which was filled with funny stories and plenty of champagne. 

The Moonee Ponds man spoke about playing golf with Alan Border and being baptised by former deputy Prime Minister Brian Howe. 

At just 57 years of age Aberfeldie Bowls Club president Nigel Thompson gathered his friends and family together on March 31 for his wake, which was filled with funny stories and plenty of champagne

At just 57 years of age Aberfeldie Bowls Club president Nigel Thompson gathered his friends and family together on March 31 for his wake, which was filled with funny stories and plenty of champagne

At just 57 years of age Aberfeldie Bowls Club president Nigel Thompson gathered his friends and family together on March 31 for his wake, which was filled with funny stories and plenty of champagne

It was also worth mentioning that he joined the search party for Azaria Chamberlain while camping when she disappeared.

While memorials usually happen after the person being honoured has died, Nigel was able to witness the celebration of his life with the broader community after working with Bare Cremation.

The living memorial was a chance for Nigel’s loved ones to come together and celebrate a life well-lived. 

‘If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that life is short. Now was a better time than any to have a party,’ Nigel said.

‘I’m a joker and love to have a laugh, but people are afraid to laugh at a funeral. With a living memorial, people can tell funny stories and have a laugh, because they’re celebrating life rather than mourning a death.’

The living memorial was a chance for Nigel's loved ones to come together and celebrate a life well-lived

The living memorial was a chance for Nigel's loved ones to come together and celebrate a life well-lived

The living memorial was a chance for Nigel’s loved ones to come together and celebrate a life well-lived

That was far from the case when he farewelled his father Keneth.

‘When my father passed away three years ago, I don’t believe the type of funeral that was arranged for him was the funeral he would have wanted,’ Nigel said.

‘It was conducted in a funeral home chapel but dad wasn’t a religious man. His service came up short on celebrating the great man he was and his dedication to his family.

‘I didn’t want that for myself, so I’ve taken matters into my own hands by having my own memorial while I’m still here.

‘I picked the songs I liked and invited the people I actually wanted there. It was a chance for those closest to me to come together to celebrate my life, the way I lived it, at the place that’s been important to me for 15 years.’

'When my father passed away three years ago, I don't believe the type of funeral that was arranged for him was the funeral he would have wanted,' Nigel said

'When my father passed away three years ago, I don't believe the type of funeral that was arranged for him was the funeral he would have wanted,' Nigel said

‘When my father passed away three years ago, I don’t believe the type of funeral that was arranged for him was the funeral he would have wanted,’ Nigel said

Ordinarily, you’d never throw the biggest party of a person’s life without the guest of honour present, said Cale Donovan, co-founder of Bare Cremation, the funeral care disruptor that arranged the event.

‘Living memorials make it possible for a person to be celebrated while they are around to hear all the great things said about them. This is exactly the kind of event that Nigel’s life deserves – now, or after he’s gone.

‘Bare is aiming to change the way people experience funerals and end of life more broadly. Death is a part of every person’s life story, so let’s destigmatise the arrangement of it,’ Cale added.

‘Australians today want personalisation and choice in their farewell. They want a new way to funeral. Nigel’s living memorial is just one great example of that.’ 

Source: DailyMail

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