Joey Essex (star of TOWIE and I’m A Celebrity) is the first celebrity Ambassador for Child Bereavement UK. Joey, whose mum died when he was 10 years old, said: “It was really hard when my mum died, so I’m very happy to help Child Bereavement UK, so they can support other kids, and parents like my Dad, who are going through what we went through.
It’s a huge honour for me to be able to help raise awareness of Child Bereavement UK and the great work it does. It’s really tough being bereaved as a kid and I want other people to find the support I didn’t get. Child Bereavement UK is a charity that’s really close to my heart.”
Dr Su Laurent MBBS FRCPCH (Medical Education Advisor)
Consultant Paediatrician, Barnet Hospital
Su served as a Trustee until 2012 when she became our Medical Education Advisor. Su has been a consultant paediatrician at Barnet Hospital since 1993 and looks after children of all ages from preterm babies on the neonatal unit to teenagers of 18+. Su is responsible for training large numbers of junior doctors and medical students and is particularly interested in teaching all hospital professionals how to provide good bereavement support for families. Su is a mother of three.
Su says, “A good doctor should not only be able to diagnose and treat patients but should also know how to support families through death and bereavement. I believe that training in bereavement support should be mandatory for all doctors.”
Sylvia Tidy-Harris is Managing Director of a number of businesses including womenspeakers.co.uk
Sylvia said: “When my fun and loving brother, Nick, died so suddenly in California, age 39, we were totally and utterly devastated. But we learned to cope. We had no choice. But for my niece and nephew who were 13 and 9 at the time, life stood still. In the US, bereavement support seemed to be more readily available than it is here in the UK. In the case of Nick’s son and daughter, it helped them enormously. But here in the UK, many families are unable to access the support they need, unless they are lucky enough to be put in contact with an organisation like Child Bereavement UK. When someone dies it is devastating for the family, and in many cases affects people for the rest of their lives. It is for this reason I am honoured to become the first national Ambassador for this vital and worthy charity.”
Carolyn and Paul were supported by Child Bereavement UK following the tragic death of their 21 month old daughter Jessica in 2008. Since then, they have become staunch supporters of the charity and have raised thousands of pounds through their fundraising endeavours, including organising a charity ball, and completing a variety of challenges including running the London Marathon, cycling from London to Amsterdam, and dog sledding.
Carolyn said: “None of us can know when our lives might suddenly be turned upside down like ours was the day that Jessica died. Child Bereavement UK’s support has made a big difference to us and our three other daughters. It is very important to us to know that other bereaved families can have the support that we had, and as Ambassadors, we will do all we can to make sure this happens.”
Sarah has a marketing, events and fundraising background. As a parent at Finton House school, with a son in the same class as Kit Milligan, Sarah was part of a small committee that helped to organise The Milligan Bike Ride in 2014. The event raised over £475,000 for the RNLI and Child Bereavement UK, following the boating accident in Cornwall in 2013 in which Nick and Emily Milligan were tragically killed and Victoria and her son Kit were seriously injured.
Sarah said: “The professional counselling that Child Bereavement UK gave and continues to give the Milligans and other bereaved families is of vital importance. Through witnessing their support, I am proud to continue to fundraise and to champion the essential support the charity offers to bereaved families.”
Katherine found Child Bereavement UK when looking to support her two young children after her husband’s suicide. “When the police had left my home, I Googled ‘How do you tell a child their Dad has killed himself?’ I didn’t know where to turn, and Child Bereavement UK were top of the search rankings. Their care and expertise guided me into one of the most difficult conversations I’ve ever had, and they have been there ever since, by my side supporting me, supporting my children.”
Katherine, who is Founder and CEO of Meeting Magic, an organisation which works mainly with Senior Leaders in large private sector organisations, said: “I hope to be able to leverage my connections to raise awareness and secure funding for Child Bereavement UK and the essential work they do.”
Ned became involved with Child Bereavement UK in 2013 when his great friend Victoria Milligan tragically lost her husband and daughter in a speedboating accident. Since then Ned has become a huge supporter of the charity, including raising money for Child Bereavement UK by participating in The Milligan Bike Ride – cycling 350 miles in 3 days.
Ned says: “Being involved in Child Bereavement UK has made me see what a difference this has made to so many lives across the UK. I am delighted to be a part of this amazing charity and hope to continue to make a difference.”
Emily is a Civil Servant. She was supported by Child Bereavement UK after her second daughter, Abbie, was stillborn in September 2013. She said: “I wanted to support CBUK in return for the help they have given me in finding my way through the first two years, helping me and my family develop coping strategies for managing difficult everyday situations such as parent and toddler groups, returning to work after maternity leave and difficult questions about how many children I have.”
Emily has spoken on various occasions, including: on BBC R4 Woman’s Hour; at a City Law Firm’s fundraising panel, gaining their support for Child Bereavement UK; and at an event at 10 Downing St. She has contributed to Child Bereavement UK’s training materials by sharing her experiences – positive and supportive, and less so – with midwives, doctors and her employer following Abbie’s death. Emily is also helping raise awareness of the need for good bereavement in the workplace practice to be shared as widely as possible.
Matt and Emma Smith
Matt and Emma Smith were supported by Child Bereavement UK following the death of their 9½ week old daughter, Nyah, in 2012 and subsequent miscarriage of their second daughter, Skye, in 2013. Matt runs the annual Let’s Rock Festivals held in locations across the country of which Child Bereavement UK is a beneficiary.