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Time to bring back the black armband for family mourning

22 August 2011

Time to bring back the black armband for family mourning

An Auckland funeral director has decided it’s time to bring back the black armband as part of the grieving process.

Black armbands used to be worn by all funeral goers, but today are usually only worn by the likes of sports teams such as the All Blacks who wore them to mark the Pike River Mine tragedy.

Deborah Cairns of State of Grace Funerals has now started offering them to families who have lost a loved one.

“The idea came to me after I’d just farewelled a very dear friend and was doing the grocery shopping for the family. I was very much on the edge - if anyone had said a cross word to me, I would have collapsed.

“I wished I’d had a sign to tell people to be nice to me – or even just careful. A black armband can do just that. Not only for the day of the service, it can be worn for as long as the wearer wishes to, and it tells people to be a bit more careful than usual, that someone is grieving.”

State of Grace only uses locally made products – so to get the armbands made, Deborah talked with the Tearfund and contracted a Somali Womens group in Mt Roskill to do the job.

They’re already proving very popular – the first family liked the idea so much that Deborah had to go to the workshop to get the first delivery as it was being made.

“People are already talking about getting things printed on them, or doing them in different colours. But the idea has certainly been welcomed,” she said.

$1 will be donated from each armband to the Guardian Angels Charitable Trust, an organisation that gives grassroots support to families of children with terminal illness.


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