Horsham based charity Winston’s Wish celebrated its 20th birthday last week by visiting the House of Lords and holding a party at its town centre office.
The charity, which helps families suffering bereavement, particularly of unexpected deaths moved to Springfield Road earlier this year. Attending the trip to London was young ambassador Emily Van Dyke, 21, who received help from Winston’s Wish when her father committed suicide.
Emily, who was just 17 when it happened, said: “When you’re at school people don’t know so it’s not talked about. Everyone’s got their family while one of your parents was missing and you feel very alone.
“At the residential weekend with Winston’s Wish there were lots of people in the same situation and I was paired with a girl whose dad had died too.
“When you are going through grief you get angry, you feel guilty and it’s ok to feel like that.
“We had an amazing time on the weekend. The team leaders were there to talk to all the time and if you still need to talk afterwards, they are still there.”
Her mum, Helen Woodford also found the charity helpful. She said: “The people on the parents camp could finish my sentence. I realised I was grieving for three people and I didn’t need to.
“I needed to give them the chance to express themselves.”
The charity’s also works with schools has benefitted Horsham’s Holbrook Primary School after they experienced the death of a member of staff and a pupil in the space of three years. Headteacher Deborah Moss said: “With help from Winston’s Wish we now have a very open approach to bereavement. The children can talk about it and the charity supported my staff to access resources.”
For more information about Winston’s Wish visit the charity’s Horsham centre go to www.winstonswish.org.uk or call the helpline on 08452 030405.