“It is of course the kind of help we all hope that we will never need to consider. Sadly the reality is very much different. I was genuinely overwhelmed when my wife and I found out a charity like Grief Encounter existed and I am proud to be their Patron. The grieving process excludes no-one. Grief Encounter addresses the issues of coping, interacting and nurturing children through bereavement. We can’t escape the feelings of loss, but we can embrace the rest of our lives in a positive fashion.”
“I wrestled with becoming a patron of Grief Encounter as it meant I would need to explain my connection. I lost my mother, suddenly, tragically, devastatingly, two days before I was 12. Things were done differently then, so my sister and I didn’t have counselling. The scars from it are still so deep that even now, over thirty years later; it is still painful for me to talk about. With Grief Encounter I desperately hope our current generation going through their own pain, will get the help they need.”
“When I was 15 and getting over the death of my father, I saw an amazing grief counsellor who helped me process what had happened & helped me understand my feelings. I really don’t think I would be this person today without that help. Grief Encounter is an incredibly important charity which does just that – works with children who’ve lost a parent or a sibling and helps them come out of it the other side. Singing with the Grief Encounter Choir in 2018 was an afternoon of my life that I’ll never forget. We laughed, we cried & remembered those we were singing for.”
“Grief Encounter has really made a difference to me and my boys. Right from the beginning they were there, together with my family and friends, to help us pick up the pieces following the traumatic death of my boys mum, Jade. It is my intention to promote the vital work that Grief Encounter do whenever I can to ensure that other bereaved children know there is somewhere like this to turn.”
“I’m excited to become an ambassador for Grief Encounter, and help raise awareness for bereaved children in the UK. 1 child in every classroom experiences the death of a parent or sibling; I was that young person, losing both of my sisters to Cystic Fibrosis within a year. Both situations unravelled so fast, and suddenly they were just gone. I couldn’t have come through my journey without the incredible support from my friends and family. So many children and young people don’t have that support network in place, and that’s where Grief Encounter can make a difference.”
“I met the team at Grief Encounter following an article I wrote in The Times. As a mental health practitioner, I directly see the impact of bereavement on family’s lives but still find it hard to imagine what it must be like for a young child. I cannot emphasise enough the vital need for the professional services found at Grief Encounter.”
“I lost my mother 4 days after my 1st birthday, and even though I never knew her, I have felt her loss throughout my life, as both a child and an adult. I am lucky to have such a supportive family who keep my mum’s memory alive for me, but there are some people who aren’t as lucky. The incredible work that Grief Encounter does with children and their families is second to none. It is so important to allow people to grieve and to facilitate it. I can’t support them enough.”
“I am delighted to announce that I have come on board as a Patron of the charity Grief Encounter. Having lost my Dad aged 17 very suddenly I know just how heart-breaking and confusing grief is to navigate. The work that Grief Encounter do to support children of all ages after they lose a parent or a sibling is so important and I feel passionately about all children having the right support to process their grief.”
“My relationship with my mum was, and is so special and important to me. Death doesn’t change that. The time we had together is untouched and unchanged so I’m choosing to celebrate and remember that. By becoming an ambassador for Grief Encounter, and taking on this amazing challenge in her memory, I hope to help people be more aware of the challenges young people face with adolescent bereavement.”
“I lost my wife of fourteen months when I was just 33. She was hit by a car and killed right in front of our two year-old son, Jackson. Although I had family and friends around, and bucket loads of sympathy, there was no empathy and understanding to be found.”
“No-one around me could understand how I felt; everyone just wanted me to feel better and that just made me feel worse. How could I ever feel better when, within a matter of seconds, I’d gone from being a happily married father of one with imminent plans to have more kids, to a widower in shock and a single parent in despair? Shelley Gilbert and her team at Grief Encounter reached out to offer their support and therapeutic services to my son and me. They have been invaluable on our road to recovery (if such a thing exists in grief). They listen without judgement, talk with experience and understand that, although we might be doing well at any given time, we will need somewhere to turn for the rest of Jackson’s young life and perplexing childhood, which he will now spend without his mother. And that level of commitment costs. I was one of the lucky ones because of this wonderful charity. There isn’t enough awareness or funding for the therapeutic bereavement services that Grief Encounter offers. That needs to change and with your help and commitment it can. And that can give hope and change lives for the better.”
“Losing my best friend, soulmate and dad to my kids is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, but instead of focusing on what I’ve lost, I’ve chosen to be happy.” Holly Matthews, is now pouring her energy into helping others dealing with bereavement and other life challenges.
“My mum died when I was 16 and I know this experience has shaped who I am today. I remember her being ill for a couple of years, but was preoccupied with making friends and going out like any other teenager. Once she died I found that I couldn’t identify with anyone and felt completely alone. I wish Grief Encounter had existed when I was younger; thank goodness it now does and supports bereaved children. I’m honoured to be a Grief Encounter Patron and help spread the word that support is available.”
“Grief and loss are such devastating concepts to try to deal with at any ages, but they are especially devastating for children. The work that Grief Encounter does on a daily basis is completely brilliant and essential, and I am delighted to be a Grief Encounter Ambassador, hoping to support, promote and help the charity however I can.”
“My dad passed away when I was just 12 years old. For anyone losing a parent knows, it’s an incredibly emotional, shocking and bewildering time. To have had the guidance from Grief Encounter at that time would have been invaluable. I am honoured to be asked to be a patron of the charity to help them continue the exceptional work they do ensuring bereaved children get the care and support they need.”
“After my dad died, Grief Encounter became part of my family; a continued support, where I met lifelong friends, felt as if I fitted in and received the right kind of support that I needed. I hope that one day I can give others the support I received, so young people realise they can still live with grief, and grow up to be the best person they can be.”
Having lost both his parents by the time he was eight, Luke has been part of the Grief Encounter family for several years. Most recently, he has helped the charity with their 2020 Children’s Grief Awareness Campaign focusing on isolation and loneliness children and young people feel when they are bereaved at a young age. He was especially drawn to this project to have an opportunity to show children who have lost parents that they are not alone in their experiences, and drive awareness of some of the experiences they might face.
Luke is a director and storyteller who runs Sticker Studios London. Luke has worked for brands like Sure, Vodafone, Primark, Uber, Sky, Puma, Uber and GHD creating adverts for TV and online.