It is with deep sadness that we have learnt of the recent death, at age 93, of Countess Mountbatten of Burma, President of The Compassionate Friends in the UK. Countess Mountbatten was a passionate and loyal supporter of our charity. We will miss her enormously, and warmly thank her for her compassion and care for bereaved parents and their families over the many years she has been a Patron and President of our charity.
The Countess lost her fourteen year old son, Nicholas, in a terrorist attack in 1979. Her father, her mother-in-law and fifteen year old family friend Paul Maxwell were also killed in the attack. She, her husband, and their son Timothy Knatchbull (who is a Patron of The Compassionate Friends representing bereaved siblings) were injured but survived the attack. For more than 30 years she used her experience of the loss of her son to help other bereaved parents, through her support of The Compassionate Friends.
Our Chair of Trustees, Maria Ahern, commented "I didn't have the honour to meet the Countess, but I have spoken to others in our organisation who did and they spoke warmly of her compassion and her dedication to helping the bereaved. She was by all accounts, an inspiring lady and she will be missed by our organisation. Thank you Countess for all the help that you gave us."
The family have asked for donations in memory of the Countess to be made to The Compassionate Friends. Make a donation.
Our thoughts at The Compassionate Friends are with the family and friends of the Countess.
We are delighted to that The Compassionate Friends has secured a place in the 2018 LONDON MARATHON through the charities ballot. It is wonderful news for us and all the bereaved parents and their families to whom we try to offer friendship, support and hope after the death of a son or daughter, brother or sister.
If you, or someone you know, would like to run for us in this iconic event on 22 April 2018 please do contact our Fundraiser, Stephen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0345 120 3785 (Monday-Friday 9.30 am - 4.30 pm).
Our Gathering of bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents held in Perth, in beautiful Scotland, was held from 12-14 May. Parents from Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, South Africa and Australia came to the event, and many spent the first evening at a social drop in group to get to know each other and there was also a supportive meeting for first-timers attending the weekend - to help new parents get orientated and make the most of the 2 days together.
During our weekend together we heard a moving talk by Stewart Wilson, CEO of Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland. A bereaved father himself, he spoke about all his family and particularly his eldest daughter Anna who was born with a rare genetic disorder - 'crie de chat' syndrome - and sadly died when she a few days from her 17th birthday. Stewart's incredible honesty about family life with Anna and inspiring account of her life, death and the impact her short life has had on both him and his family was both heart-rending and inspiring to hear.
The first supportive overnight retreat for adult bereaved siblings was held last month in Birmingham. 25 siblings gathered together to spend time talking, socialising and sharing their stories with each other.
Emma, was one of the bereaved siblings who was also organising the weekend. She wrote: "Just spent a wonderful weekend with fellow siblings. It was so lovely to hear about everyone's special brothers or sisters. We took part in lots of different discussion groups, craft and creative writing groups. The memory candle jars we decorated were lit on the Saturday evening outside on a big tree. On Sunday some enjoyed going out on the lake in the boat. Thank you to everyone who attended for making it such a special weekend".
Other feedback from the weekend included:
"The biggest thing I took from the weekend - being in a safe place, surrounded by others who understand the grief you are going through and being able to identify with each other about the isolation and frustrations that grief brings.
While I found the weekend tough, as it really brought home that you have indeed lost someone (i’m quite good at denial) it was incredibly healing. The sessions were all extremely well thought out and relaxed. I was terrified about going but there was absolutely no need. The weekend really helped me on my way to acceptance and moving forwards, and I really really hope that i can come again"
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