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TCF news

"I did the unthinkable..." Overnight retreat for bereaved siblings

"I did the unthinkable... I walked into a room full of strangers and left with lots of hugs and tears and great memories. Thank you so much for the retreat, I didn't realise how much I needed it" (S)

The weekend of 21/22 April saw 30 bereaved siblings gather together for The Compassionate Friends overnight retreat at Woodbrooke in Birmingham. We have had lots of wonderful feedback from the bereaved brothers and sisters who came to the retreat to be together, share their stories and find understanding and hope after the loss of sibling early in life. Often called 'the forgotten mourners', this weekend was a unique opportunity for these bereaved siblings to find support and speak with others who have experienced a similar traumatic loss.
We are hugely grateful to the Big Lottery Fund for funding the weekend and to the volunteers - bereaved siblings themselves - for organising this special supportive event.

Here's just some of the feedback we have received from the siblings that attended:

" This weekend has changed me as a person. I’ve met some of the bravest and most inspiring people I’ll ever meet. The people who understand the pain and heartbreak of losing a sibling, who are there to listen as well as share their sibling’s stories. These people I hope to continue to call friends. I can’t explain how amazing it is to talk to other people who have been through the same experience and won’t judge you because they understand everything you are saying". (G)

"If you've not been to one of these events, please go, you won't regret it".

View our short video where parents talk about their experience at the March 2018 supportive weekend for parents in early bereavement.

Bryan and Patsy lost their daughter and only child, Evie, just a few weeks ago Bryan has allowed us to share with you his thoughts about the TCF supportive weekend for newly bereaved parents at Willersley Castle in Derbyshire from 23-25 March 2018...

"Patsy and I have just got back from the Compassionate Friends Retreat in Derbyshire. Whilst this is a club that none of us want to join, being around people that understand, being able to talk openly and frankly about your child without people looking away, and just being able to cry without fear of judgement has been immensely liberating. Evie died just two months ago from a massive brain tumour and the pain is incredibly raw. But ..... after 2 1/2 days of discussions and openness we feel empowered to take on the future. Knowing that we aren't alone, knowing that we have new friends who WILL listen, knowing that it is just a few short months until we can go to another event such as this has given us the strength to get up tomorrow and tackle the future head on. It's not a future that we want, and the pain is still fresh and excruciating, but it is a pain that we can beat, thanks to a charity set up

specifically for people like us. Thank you to 'Compassionate Friends' for being there, for being a shoulder, for creating the type of environment to draw together like-minded people. Our daughter was a beautiful human being, intelligent, creative and caring. We owe it to her to carry on, to preserve her memory and to honour her. If you've not been to one of these events, please go, you won't regret it".

Jimmy Edmonds of The Good Grief Project is a TCF volunteer. Here he shares his thoughts about the group for bereaved dad's he led during the weekend.

Spring 2018 editions of TCF publications - out now

OUT NOW....Compassion, our supportive magazine for bereaved parents written by bereaved parents....and TCF News, our charity newsletter with articles and features covering fundraising, events and other news going on in The Compassionate Friends.

We have also published a Newsletter especially for parents who have lost their only child or all their children, and a Newsletter for bereaved siblings called SIBBS (Support in Bereavement for Brothers and Sisters).

To receive these publications on a regular basis, please JOIN TCF as a donating member and they will be sent to you every quarter.

You can view all our publications online here:


TCF News

Childless Parents Newsletter (for parents with no surviving children)

SIBBS Newsletter (Support in Bereavement for Brothers and Sisters)

New private Facebook for parents who have suffered loss of a baby, toddler or pre-school child

A new private, closed Facebook group is offering peer support to parents who have lost a baby, toddler or pre-school child.

Your loss can have been just a short time ago or many years previously - all are warmly welcome. We hope the group will offer support, encouragement, some hope and friendship.

We hope the new group will give parents the opportunity to share experiences and pain, some of the difficulties related to the loss of baby or young child, share things that may have been helpful to us on this journey, and anything else that you are feeling since your child died and want to share, get feedback on, or just because you need to give words to your feelings. Together we support each other; together we remember our baby, toddler or child for the love, joy and memories we hold about them.

Contact us at info@tcf.org.uk to request to join. We will ask you a few questions - to keep the group safe for bereaved parents only - and then send you a link to access the group.

Details of all our UK Facebook Groups and how to join are here.

New fact sheets - making a complaint to or about the NHS

Most of the time the NHS does a great job of taking care of us and our loved ones, but there also can be circumstances where we may feel that it has failed in some way. It may be some action or lack of action by health professionals working in the NHS who, in our opinion, have contributed to the death of our child. In these circumstances, we may wish to make a complaint.

The Compassionate Friends have produced a series of fact sheets providing a summary of the complaints procedure in England as of 2017 from the perspective of a bereaved parent.

Part 1 gives a brief overview and some advice on reaching a decision on whether to complain or not.

Part 2 offers information about starting the complaints process.

Part 3 gives a description of the process and what you can expect.

It is hoped, in the future, to provide further information about the process in Scotland and Wales.

Support our work

Each year thousands of parents suffer the loss of a son or a daughter. Please help us to support families in their time of greatest need.

Make a donation