The Death Podcast

Mark Longley speaks at a Parliamentary breakfast

Mark Longley is an Ambassador for White Ribbon, an organisation that began in response to the murder of 14 women in Canada and has now spread to 60 countries around the globe. Its aim is to speak to men, about men’s violence towards women and demonstrate the alternatives to violence – respectful relationships.

It’s a role Mark would never have taken on had it not been for the death of his daughter Emily Longley at the hands of a violent young man in the UK.

“As a parent that has lost a child, you are always trying to make sense of the tragedy. I donate my time to White Ribbon in the hope that no other family ever has to go through what we have endured. We talk about men taking responsibility to change the behaviour of our mates. In my daughter’s story, if just one of her boyfriend’s mates had not remained silent, Emily could be alive today. That’s a theme I return to, in the hope that I can influence other young men out there.”

Mark and Emily Longley

“But what I also noticed, is that we don’t talk about death. No one prepares us and the routines we have in place just don’t cut it.  We don’t know what to say or do when people experience the impacts of a death and I wanted to explore that.”

Mark and the Newshub team have put together a three part podcast which is about love, grief and hope.

“I have spoken to people who have experienced grief, from losing a father to suicide to a grandmother 20 years ago whose loss is still keenly felt. I spoke to experts and colleagues and looked at both the process of grieving and helping those we know are mourning. And here is the thing: death, for all its inevitability, sucks. It doesn’t matter if it is your daughter, your grandmother, your spouse or a relative, it sucks and yet it remains taboo in many societies, and I wanted to challenge that.”

The podcast is called Death and is in three chapters.

Emily Longley

  • Chapter 1. Death
  • Chapter 2. Grief
  • Chapter 3. Hope

“I know I’m on a journey and it’s taken me out of my comfort zone, but I do it to honour Emily, and play my part to reduce the level of violence in New Zealand. In December last year I spoke at two vigils for Grace Millane – the British backpacker who was murdered in New Zealand. It’s not something I would have done if my daughter were alive, but I know that work and this podcast are something Emily would be proud of.

“Death is going to come to us all, so this is a podcast for everyone, whether you are experiencing grief or know someone who is. We talk about death and loss, but also love and hope. I loved Emily and when she died, I almost died too. But I found a way through and I hope this podcast will help anyone else who is grieving find their way through it.”

Mark would like to thank everyone who took part as it takes courage to recount your own personal experiences and share them with the world.

Click to listen to the Death podcast on:












Newshub’s homepage for the show
Profile in The Guardian
Interview on Australia’s ABC network
BBC article


White Ribbon would like to acknowledge Newshub Reporting for support with this story.

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