Grief Encounter is fortunate enough to receive the support of a diverse and committed group of Patrons and Celebrity Friends who help us in a variety of ways. All of them have experienced bereavement and have been affected by the loss of a loved one.
Al Murray - Comedian
“As a father of two daughters, I do everything in my power to love and protect them. But one in 20 children suffer the unthinkable tragedy of losing a parent. I’ve admired the work that Grief Encounter does for a long time and now feel it’s my place to help raise awareness of what they do. They support children who have gone through the unimaginable, losing a parent or sibling, and they need our support in order to carry out their vital work with some of the UK’s most vulnerable children.”
Arlene Phillips - Choreographer and Television Judge
“I grieved for my mother as a young teenager; but also had to support my siblings. It wasn’t easy and I felt I had to be strong for them and put on a brave face. Although this kept me occupied, it was a heavy weight on young shoulders; a weight that wonderful charities like the Grief Encounter Project can now help youngsters cope with. I have learnt that grieving together with loved ones is really important, sharing your feelings is a good step forward to coming to terms with such a deep loss and helps you support one another bridging the void that is left after losing someone dear to you.”
Ben Brooks-Dutton - Ambassador
"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.”
David Morrissey - Actor
"My father died when I was a teenager and it took me ages to come to terms with it. So I offer my full support to Grief Encounter for the wonderful work they do with bereaved youngsters."
Dawn French - Actress
“My Dad and I only had 19 years together. It has been 31 years since I saw him and every day I have to remind myself of that fact, and every day I am shocked. It is somehow not right that soon I will be older than he ever got to be. A parent is supposed to be older at all times. Unfortunately that is not always the case, as I know. I’m proud to be associated with Grief Encounter and the wonderful work they do to help children and young people through the trauma of bereavement.”
Gabby Logan - Presenter
“My brother’s death was a complete and utter shock to our family and we were totally devastated. There was no specific help offered to us to help us cope with our grief. I am really impressed by the work Grief Encounter are doing and I offer them my total support.”
Jeff Brazier - Presenter
"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."
Katherine Jenkins - Singer
“My Dad died when I was a young girl and everything changed for me and my family overnight. I really support the work of Grief Encounter, everybody should have help.”
Kenny Logan - Rugby Player
"The trauma of my dad’s loss when I was a teenager had untold consequences, which had they been dealt with earlier, would have made my life much easier. I am delighted to support Grief Encounter."
Kevin Wells - Founding Patron
“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.”
Lisa Faulkner - Actress and Celebrity Chef
“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.”
Martin Lewis - Founder of Money Saving Expert
“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.”
Olivia Wayne - Presenter - Ambassador
“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.”
Simon Wood - Masterchef Champion 2015
"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."
Tanya Byron - Professor - Ambassador
"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."
Beth Rylance - Actor and Comedian - Ambassador
“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.’
Gemma Atkinson - Actress and Radio Presenter - Patron
"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.”