Business Advisors & CEDAR Volunteer Team

CEDAR is made up of a team of volunteers, instructors, advisors and supporters who believe it is important to get the communication we have around death, dying and bereavement right. Saying the wrong thing at the wrong moment can harm lives; but saying the right thing at the right time can make a world of positive difference. Our team is growing. If you would be interested in volunteering with CEDAR, please contact us.

Here are some of the people involved in our projects:

Judith Wester

Judith Wester
PhD, Director, Instructor and Founder of CEDAR

Dr Wester is a thanatologist and academic who has committed herself to transferring contemporary research on death, dying and bereavement into language everyone can understand. She has taught at college, university and community levels, believing everyone from young to old can benefit from death education. Her vast experience includes working with home-care hospice, children’s hospital, and developing Death Studies programmes in higher education. She also trained and worked as an HIV hot-line crisis counsellor. As a trustee and vice chair for a mental health charity, she became certified in suicide prevention in 2010. She is currently on the steering committee of LGBT SAND (Safe Ageing—No Discrimination), which addresses the needs of vulnerable elderly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people at end of life. Dr Wester’s enthusiasm for empowering people through education can be contagious. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Stephen Jacobs

Stephen Jacobs
PhD, Sr Lecturer/Researcher

Dr Jacobs has been involved in educational curriculum development for over fifteen years with a focus on communication, cultural studies and religious tolerance. As a Senior Lecturer in Media, Religion & Culture, he holds the position of Chair of the Ethics Committee in Communications at the University of Wolverhampton. His knowledge in the area of ethics brings a valuable resource to the work of CEDAR. Dr Jacobs has created our ethics policy and guidelines, which informs our research and instruction.

Hannah Davies

Hannah Davies
Youth Advisory Team Lead and Volunteer

Hannah is not only a graduate of the CEDAR Life Lessons programme, she went on to acquire a First Degree in Deaf Studies at the University of Wolverhampton (2020), and has rejoined the CEDAR team as a Youth Advisory Team Lead to help us develop an online version of the Life Lessons – Death Education for Young People. She has continually worked with CEDAR as a volunteer in a supervisory and advisory capacity for five years and we are very pleased to have her join us in a formal capacity. She is a great asset to our team.

George Chryssides

George Chryssides
PhD, Lecturer, Researcher and CEDAR Educational Advisor

As a Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham, Dr Chryssides brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the CEDAR Advisory Board. He is an internationally published scholar in religious studies and was made an Honorary Life Member of the British Association for the Study of Religion in 2008. Having developed and taught Death Studies programmes at the university level, he is particularly familiar with the best ways to deliver this topic in intriguing and engaging ways, as well as promoting tolerance and acceptance of varied belief systems.

Nicky Kent
Business Practitioner and Social Media Strategist, Director of CEDAR Education

In addition to being one of the key people to help set up CEDAR Education in 2011, Nicky Kent, who specialises in social enterprises, is the Founder and Managing Director of Social Heart CIC, a social enterprise that offers business consultancy, training and digital and social media strategies for individuals and small businesses. You can follow her on Twitter @socialheartcic. Her email is Nicky is an invaluable resource to CEDAR Education not only as a business consultant, but as an accomplished falconer she established the outdoor lessons in ecology, falconry and animal husbandry, which has been part of the Life Lessons death education programme for young people since July 2013.

Anna Wilde, M.A
Director, CEDAR Education.
Owner at PerfectArc Consultants 

Anna Wilde is a Director of CEDAR and holds an MA in Death, Religion and Culture from the University of Winchester. She is currently studying for a PhD exploring the Death Positivity Movement at the University of Birmingham. Anna is an experienced trainer and workshop facilitator. She looks after the CEDAR website and social media accounts and assists Dr Wester with tuition, research and the Life Lessons programme.

Marion Dakin
B.Sc. CQSW, PG Dip in Safeguarding adults, law and policy. Volunteer at CEDAR Education.

Marion held the protected title of Social Worker for more than 30 years. For the last 13 years of her career she ran her own successful learning and development business in health and social care with customers across England and Wales. Marion’s interests and expertise  include safeguarding adults and  the Mental Capacity Act 2005. In more recent years Marion has become an avid campaigner for better end of life care.


Richard Parkes
CEO, Shropshire Youth Association

Richard has a plethora of work experience running and managing youth projects on the county-wide level for almost 20 years. He has worked with both the Telford & Wrekin and Shropshire Councils to develop infrastructure support to voluntary youth clubs, and carries these skills over to the management of SYA. We are very fortunate to have his skills and input regarding our Life Lessons Death Education programmes for young people.

Kathryn Walker

Kathryn Walker
Social Anthropologist, BA Hons, PG Dip Psych, MA

As a Social Anthropologist, Kathryn observes, analyses and records human diversity, behaviours, and beliefs found in different societies and cultures. Kathryn’s academic background in Fine Art as well as Psychology informs her research, leading to explorations into environmental and socio-cultural factors that relate to human experience and interaction in diverse communities. Kathryn is currently a fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute and a member of the British Sociological Association. With CEDAR CIC Kathryn is researching and collecting data through participant observation and report writing.

Margaret Wilkins

Margaret Wilkins
Author, Editor and CEDAR Advisor & Volunteer

Margaret Wilkins started out as a classicist and has had a varied career, including some years as a community worker and as a volunteer with the Samaritans. She is now a freelance writer and editor who is looking forward to putting this experience to work as part of the team helping to produce CEDAR’s educational material and online text. She is also a dedicated volunteer for CEDAR, helping with our events and activities in the community.

Mark Gibson

Mark Gibson
Business Advisor

Founder of the award-winning company ImageMatch, Mark now runs Asset Management Social Enterprise CIC, which he helped to establish. His long career in IT with Sony helped him gain a lot of experience in dealing with large businesses such as PC World. Mark is also involved with a specialist disability social enterprise, as well as the local VCSA Forums of Interest; including Social Enterprise, Training Providers and the Criminal Justice Forum. He addition, he finds time to be the Chair of his local residents association and sits on the panel of a fostering agency. His many other involvements at both community and business levels are exceptional and award winning. CEDAR is very fortunate to have him as an invaluable advisor.

CEDAR  Education
CEDAR  Education  is  dedicated  to  teaching everyone  how  to  understand,  accept  and  respond to  death,  dying  and  loss  in  healthy  and appropriate  ways  with  clients,  patients,  students, and  in  personal  relationships.

CEDAR Education is proud to have won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service