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In 2004 Dr Shelley Gilbert MBE established Grief Encounter, offering bereaved children and young people a safe space to grieve and talk about their feelings following the death of a parent or sibling.

“I want to make things different for today’s bereaved children. They need to be chief mourners and they need to be acknowledged. I grew up with two feeling words – happy and sad – and there was nothing in between.”

Shelley Gilbert MBE Founder & Lifetime President


1000 Grief Encounter Workbooks published and given to bereaved children with the help of ‘Friends of Grief Encounter’ committee.

Kevin Wells becomes Founding Patron.


Grief Encounter Workbook becomes a bestseller.

Grief Encounter sets up home office and phone line with 12 volunteers.


First workshops begin.

Counselling sessions established.

Friends of Grief Encounter Committee set up.

First Comedy Night, featuring star studded comedians, raising almost £50,000. Fast making it the key fundraising event of the year.


First ever National Bereavement Poetry Competition and launch of ‘Bad Time Rhymes’.

Family days begin: Fishing Day sponsored by Landhold launched and fast becomes most popular family event.

Development of In-School workshops and training.


Grief Encounter accredited training provision expands nationally.

8,000 Workbooks now in circulation


1-1 counselling expands to 40 sessions per week.

First ever celebrity support gained – Jeff Brazier, Arlene Phillips, Antonio Carluccio, Gabby and Kenny Logan, David Morrisey and Dawn French.


Expansion to Essex and the South West of England.

Residential camp begins.


Specialist resources developed into Grief Relief Kits, increasing reach nationwide.

Number of family days increase.


Dr Shelley Gilbert named Daily Mail Inspirational Woman of the Year.

84% of clients showing a significant improvement from 1:1 intervention.

‘Chocolate Chipped: A Smelly Book about Grief’ published.

New initiatives include e-counselling, under 6s group and drop-in sessions.





New clinical offices.

Children in Need funding received.

First full time COO appointed.

First Grief Encounter Shopping day.


Dr Shelley Gilbert receives MBE from Princess Royal at Buckingham Palace.

Accredited training programmes start.

First gala dinner marks 10th anniversary.

Tanya Byron becomes Patron.


First overseas charity challenge to the Great Wall of China.

First Children’s Grief Awareness Week launched by Grief Encounter and CBN.


Richard Fogelman appointed as CEO.

Grief Encounter raises international profile with TEDx Talk, conferences, symposiums, research and facilitating services abroad, notably.


Bristol office acquired and second London office opening.

Liz Dempsey appointed as first Clinical Services Director.

Grief Encounter Grenfell response team established.

Grief Encounter joins Parliamentary task force for Bereavement Support.



First Ladies’ Lunch.

Grief Encounter choir sings with Katherine Jenkins.

Gemma Atkinson becomes Ambassador.

Grief Encounter chosen for Good Morning Britain’s One Million Minutes campaign.


grieftalk helpline Launched.

Ray Jorden and Holly Matthews become Ambassadors.

Charity rebrand.

15th Anniversary gala dinner.



Grief Encounter’s helpline grieftalk, is extended to all frontline workers during COVID-19.