Bereavement Support Day at The Wisdom Centre, Romsey, Hampshire on 2 September 2017
It would sound odd to anyone who has not lost a child that a gathering of grieving parents could be a “good” or even a positive and uplifting day. But the support day run by Joy Sebborn and Sue Brooks in Romsey at the start of September truly was a beautiful and special day.
Twenty one of us gathered at The Wisdom Centre in Romsey, a tranquil setting surrounded by wonderful gardens in the warm September sunshine. Some were newly bereaved by a few months while others were further along what can be a very lonely and isolating path.
Any nervousness we may have had was quickly banished by a cup of tea and plentiful biscuits. As I have always found with Compassionate Friends there is an immediate warmth, respect and empathy amongst us. We were able to talk freely about our children and our experiences of loss in a way we cannot usually do. This in itself is a huge relief as we so often have to hide our sadness to make others around us feel comfortable or simply because we just have to get on with our lives as we ourselves, or others expect us to.
Our Board of Trustees would like to invite you to apply to help run our charitable organisation which offers support, friendship, understanding and hope to bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents. We are in an exciting next phase of our development, having just moved to new national office premises in North London and expanded our staff and volunteer base. We are looking for Trustees that can help to continue our development as the national charityoffering peer support to bereaved parents and their families.
The Board of Trustees is responsible for the governance and strategic direction of the charity and as such works in a similar way to a company board of directors, in as much as each trustee often takes on an area of responsibility for the benefit of the charity.
The Board would be particularly assisted by individuals with skills and experience in areas such as but not limited to Information Technology, Fundraising, Charity/Company Law, Managing Charity Finances, Training and Events Management, Volunteer Management, Public Relations and Communications, Human Resources, or with other skills and experience which could be of benefit to the work of TCF. This is not an exhaustive list and you may have other skills that would benefit the charity. Being a charity Trustee is a challenging, but rewarding, role and we always look forward to welcoming new people to the Board. Typically, the amount of time that a board member might be prepared to devote to TCF would be approximately 5 hours per week. The Board meets together 6 times a year, usually in London at the weekend.
We have received some lovely feedback and comments from the recent TCF supportive weekend for Childless Parents (parents who have lost their only child or children) which was held in a wonderful manor house – Charney Manor - in the depths of the Oxfordshire countryside from 21-23 July. It was so humbling to be able to offer understanding, compassion, support and, above all, hope to these lovely parents for our two days together.
“(We) have just returned from Charney Manor. The TCF organisers were amazing and the parents we met with were all amazing too. A very unique and perfect location for a gathering such as this. I hope we will both take some comfort and hope from such a special weekend too and we both thank you so much for making it happen for us”.
“Thank you for the wonderful work who made the weekend successful… I
felt anxious about going to the retreat but it helped me to travel with
other parents. I was surprised to see so many childless parents who
were also attending the
On Monday 24th July the UK national office of The Compassionate Friends will move to:
The Compassionate Friends
Priory Park Road
London NW6 7UJ
The national office telephone number and email address remain the same at 0345 120 3785 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope there will be as little disruption as possible caused by the move and you will still be able to contact us as usual - but please bear with us if you do experience any problems getting hold of us or delays in responses.
Jane Harris (Trustee of The Compassionate Friends) and Jimmy Edmonds have recently completed production of a 75 minute feature documentary A LOVE THAT NEVER DIES. Following the death of their son Joshua in 2011, they set off on a road trip across the USA to find other bereaved parents with whom to share their story and find answers to some basic questions – why do we grieve, how do we grieve and why are we afraid of those who do grieve?
“Each of these families revealed stories of grief that confound social expectations about moving on and letting go” Jimmy
“We wanted to give a voice to grief that is not maudlin or morbid but full of hope and resilience” Jane
They now are delighted that they‘ve been invited to show the film at the The Compassionate Friends USA national conference in Orlando Florida at the end of July.
“TCF were very helpful as we planned our American trip so it’s important to us that we are able to screen the film to such a significant gathering.”
“We’ve been told that the film is beautiful and poetic and that will change the way the world sees grief. A big claim but we do hope that it contributes to a growing conversation about death, dying and bereavement in ways that will both move and inspire.”
The documentary will also be shown at this year's UK TCF National Gathering in Northamptonshire from 10-12 November in a special screening. It will be released to the general public early next year with a planned UK cinema tour followed by availability on the internet.
You can watch the trailer for A LOVE THAT NEVER DIES and find out more about Jane and Jimmy’s work here –
A LOVE THAT NEVER DIES is a Beyond Goodbye Media production for THE GOOD GRIEF PROJECT.