Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Happy 3rd Birthday Charlie

I can hardly believe that today is Charlies 3rd birthday. It does not feel like three years since we lost this lovely little boy.

He was such a wanted little baby and had so many people waiting to give him hugs and show him the world.

Charlies mummy has been so inspirational to us over the last 3 years and has made a massive difference to the face of bereavement support both in Leeds and across the UK. 

Tonight Charlies family all got together to celebrate his 3rd birthday. Each year we have all got together to celebrate his short but amazing life.

This year we all went along to the Homemade Burger Co. and enjoyed a meal together. Following the meal we went back home to have our annual balloon release. 
Charlies 3 cousins, Rhiann, Amy & Mila always enjoy letting the balloons go and often want to attach things to be taken for Charlie to play with.




This years gift for everyone to take away with them was a packet containing 2 blue feathers and a breakdown definition of what Charlies name means.

I hope you are having a great birthday up in heaven with all your relatives and friends. 
We love and miss you every day.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Well Christmas is upon us.

The shopping has been done and the presents are being wrapped. 
The hubby is in the kitchen preparing for the dinner tomorrow.

This scene will be the same in thousands of homes across the world. 

But if you could just see a little more into some of these lives you would see the pain of having another Christmas without a loved one.

Everyone says that Christmas is about the family and getting together. What do those families do who no longer have their loved ones around them or with them.

Christmas can be a very lonely time for these families.

This is why Charlies Angel Centre runs 365 days a year, we know that grief doesn't take a holiday and that there will be families going through the trauma of losing their loved one during the festive season.

Please spare a thought for those families that you know who may be struggling. Just a quick call to say 'how are you?' can mean so much. Just knowing that someone is thinking about you can help a lot.

If you do know a family that are struggling and you don't know what to do to help please give them our website address or our telephone number. We are here 24 hours a day and are here to help.




Friday, 18 December 2015

T'is the season to be jolly.

For the last week this is all I have heard from people at work, kids, television and in all the shops.

The only problem is I really don't feel like being jolly at the moment. 

The only thoughts that have been going through my head is that we are having to arrange Charlies 3rd birthday celebration without him being with us to enjoy it.



I can't get out of my head the images of how Charlie should be here causing happy chaos ripping open his Christmas presents and playing with all his toys.

I know we all go out together and celebrate his short but amazing life and make memories that will last us a lifetime. However every single one of us would happily exchange everything we have to have Charlie here with us.

This year we have raised enough money to purchase a Cuddle Cot for our local maternity unit bereavement suite. 
The Cuddle Cots are so valuable to grieving families, giving them extra time to spend with their angels before leaving the hospital.

We think  it is fitting that we are looking at buying one around Charlie's birthday, it feel's like a very good present to be able to give to bereaved families in Charlies memory.





Friday, 11 December 2015


Charlies Angels Centre has teamed up with Shop4Charity to create a brand new fundraising opportunity for the charity just in time for Christmas.

Charlies-Angel-Centre is here to help and support anyone affected by the death of a baby or child, in as many ways as we possibly can.
Our website will always continue to be a main focus as a valuable resource for families after a child's death, but as time has moved on Charlies-Angel-Centre has grown too, and we now 
do so much work behind the scenes to improvebereavement care for parents and families who have lost there child.
Shop4Charity is a website set up to raise funds for good causes with over 20,000 gifts, many of which are licensed and include some of the worlds biggest brands such as Disney, Warner Bros and one of the biggest selections of football related products.
Every sale makes a minimum of 10% for the charity.
Ruth Curtis from the Charity had this to say about the new partnership "We think it is a lovely thing that Adam is doing, and a great way to give back to the community. The website is a lovely thing to do, and that is the kind of people we want to work with because it's all about working with people and giving something back. Adam is very keen on helping other people, which is something you don't see it much today. 
It's nice to find someone that wants to help.
Hopefully, we want to get as much funds as we can to help our charity and to promote what we're doing. 
We were set up as my step daughter lost her son Charlie when he was just 19 minutes old, and when we left hospital, there was no support for the family. We are hoping to set up a bereavement support centre in Leeds, and particularly aiming to set up a 24 hour phone line this year. We are petitioning for changes in the NHS  to provisions that are out there. 32,000 people in Leeds are waiting for bereavement support, and after talking to people it's a similar situation across the UK. We have been in touch with the Prime Minister, and he has passed our details onto the NHS because of the upcoming elections. But from this partnership, we hope to spread the word of what we're doing and help the families that need it most."

Adam Maddock from Shop4CharityUK said "We have already raised substantial sums for other charities and believe this is one of the quickest and easiest ways to donate to charity whilst finding a perfect gift for yourself or others. We are honoured to help this cause and really hope we can help raise as much funds as possible for them to meet their goals."

Doing your shopping this year and help the charity on 
http://charlies-angel-centre.shop4charity.co.uk/

For further information please contact Shop4CharityUK Charity 
Partnership Manger Keith Maddock on
Office: 01157831356 Mobile: 07734754267 Email: 
Keith@shop4charity.co.uk

Friday, 4 December 2015

This week has been an amazing week for us.

First of all we found out that someone has nominated Carrie for the Yorkshire Choice awards for Inspirational Individual of the Year. 
We know that Carrie is inspirational to all of her family and friends but to have someone else see that and put her forward for this award is fantastic.
Carrie never sees herself as an inspirational person, she just sees it as doing what needs to be done in Charlies honour.
What she doesn't see, that we do, is that it has been so difficult for her to keep going since she lost her special little boy. There have been days and weeks when all she wanted to do was hide away but she didn't. She was kept going by the memory of Charlie.
We would love it if you could go along to the voting site and cast a vote for Carrie. With everything she has had to go through she deserves to be seen for the inspirational person we know she is.


We then received the brilliant news that our charity had been chosen  by Liverpool Victoria Insurance as their charity to give a donation of £1000 to.
This all came about due to a lovely lady, Katie Dockerty, who works for Liverpool Victoria. Katie had helped us previously by donating items to us for us to sell to raise funds.
Katie then decided to nominate our charity to be considered for by work colleagues as a cause worthy of their donation.
Thank you does not seem a big enough way of expressing our gratitude.

This donation has meant that our Cuddle Cot Campaign fund is now so close to its target. 
We would love to be able to be in the position to purchase our first Cuddle Cot in time for Charlies birthday on December 29th, and this £1000 has bought this wish within reach.


 

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Every where I look at the moment all I see is people getting excited and decorating for Christmas.

As a child I loved Christmas, we never had much money but my mum always used to make it a special, magical time. I will always remember the excitement I felt when my mum bought out the snowman treat jar  (cotton wool covered glass jar). There were never expensive items in it but to us it felt like treasure. 

Christmas was all about getting together with family members that you probably hadn't see since last Christmas, catching up on gossip, playing cards and watching my aunty getting very drunk.

Now, although I still enjoy Christmas, especially seeing the excitement on my granddaughters faces, Christmas has taken on a different emotion.


I'm glad that we have the granddaughters to allow us to still enjoy the festive spirit and get involved with the madness that is Christmas shopping.

Now Christmas also has the constant reminder of the journey we began on December 29th 2012. 
This year would have been Charlies 3rd Christmas, and i'm sure he would have been causing chaos with presents and wrapping paper.

Each year I have bought a different bauble to hang on our Christmas tree for Charlie. Today I purchased this years bauble. This year our tree will have a large wooden white 'C' especially for Charlie.

If you know someone who is struggling over the Christmas period please spend a little time with them. Most bereaved families just want their lost loved ones to be remembered and talked about so don't feel scared of starting that conversation.




Sunday, 22 November 2015

Grief is Grief

For the last two weeks all we have seen on the television and in all the papers is the devastation caused by terrorists across the world.

I find it heartbreaking to see all these innocent families thrown into the world of grief when they were just out enjoying themselves.


The most harrowing images I have seen this week were  posts from Syria.


The images I saw this week bought tears to my eyes, there were rows and rows of children and babies lying dead with parents looking totally destroyed and distraught. 

These families are all now having to go through their grief  with the knowledge that their children didn't need to die.

We know that losing a child/baby is devastating and so painful. When you know there is a reason e.g. medical,you can try and understand the death and even come to terms with the loss after time. 
However to be in a position where you know that you should still have your baby with you, how can you even begin to understand and accept it.

My heart goes out to all those families thrown together through one common factor, the loss of their children.

These are the stories that are not always shown as they are so difficult and traumatic to see, but these innocent little lives need to be honoured and their families need support. 

No matter where you are in the world or how you lost your child, grief is grief and the right support is vital to help the families move on with their lives.

This is why we set up Charlies Angel Centre, to highlight the deficits in bereavement support  across the UK and to help those going through grief. 
I have no idea what kind of support is available in Syria but it will be desperately needed.





Sunday, 15 November 2015

Yesterday it suddenly hit me that soon Charlie would have been 3 years old, every year since he died as a family we like to get together, thou as some family have moved to different parts of the country it takes a little more organizing, I have never been a great fan of christmas even when my children were little but i am even less so nowadays the 29/12/2012 changed me,
It made my loath for christmas run deeper, don't get me wrong i am nowhere near like scrooge, just the essence of what christmas should be about was lost a long time ago, whatever happened to a little gift and spending time with your family sharing a meal and laughing and talking, now days the pile of toys must be at least 4ft high with phones and tablets and laptops, but for me the run up to christmas 2012 i didn't want gifts or large amounts of food, sweets and drinks i wanted just one thing
                                                                          ONE GIFT. 
A gift that does not cost anything  i know Charlie's diagnosis was terrible and the awful words that my daughter and myself had to hear (incompatible with life)  the words that make you feel like you have been punched so hard that your legs wobble but that gift that so many people take for granted every day was totally out of our gasp, no money in the world could make this happen, you just can't nip to argos to buy this in fact no shop can ever sell it because that  GIFT was LIFE
Charlie's life was short just 19 minutes long but i have learnt over time that doesn't mean it's the end because Charlie has gone on to help others, he has helped shape future bereavement services, he has raised the profile of bereaved parents and baby loss  and how aftercare is so important.
And more importantly for me he has given me back what christmas is about because on the 29/12 of each year as a family we meet up have a meal talk laugh and share a small gift,


Sunday, 8 November 2015

I work in a primary school and deal with children from 4 to 11 every day. I find working with the kids a good way of keeping busy and is my way of working through my grief.

This week I have found myself quite emotional and missing Charlie more than usual.

I have thought that it was maybe because we are getting to the time of year when we were coming to terms with Charlies prognosis but then I realised what had triggered it.

Halloween and Bonfire Night. 

I was stood at school on Thursday evening looking out of the window at the fireworks being set off when suddenly I was hit with this overwhelming emotion.

I felt so sad that we would never have the excitement of seeing the joy on Charlies face as he watched the fireworks zoom up into the night sky. We wouldn't see his little smiley face as he made shapes with a sparkler. He wouldn't have the chance to dress up as a vampire or ghost.

All the children at school had been busy telling us about which firework display they were going to and getting so excited.

We also held a spooky day and film night. The kids were dressed in some brilliant costumes and took great delight in trying to scare the teaching staff.  

It then hit me that Carrie & the family would never have that excitement of using face paints and trick or treating with him, counting all the goodies he had been given. 
We get to see our other beautiful grand children enjoying it and to see their excitement is fantastic. 
But for Carrie and so many other mums & dads this must be another reminder of the things they will miss out on.

We all take certain things for granted and it took me by surprise how much it affected me. 
There must be hundreds of families out there going through the same emotions as me as they watch other families taking part in the festivities. 

As we get closer to the next big family celebration, Christmas, please remember all those families struggling through grief and extend a hand of friendship. 






Sunday, 1 November 2015

I am always very proud to say I have 5 beautiful grandchildren. 

They make your life so special and unlike when your children grow up you can spoil your grandchildren as much as you like, without having to deal with the day to day things. This is what all grandparents love to do.

I have been blessed with some pretty amazing ones;

Charlie, has been the family inspiration to stand up and fight for improvements to the provision of bereavement support. Without Charlie in our lives we would never have known the current inadequate support out there for bereaved parents and families.
Admittedly we would have much preferred to still have Charlie with us to be able to spoil rotten, but instead we have been given this role to take on in his name.

Throughout our journey since Charlie's death my 2 eldest granddaughters, Rhiann 9 & Amy 7, have shown such amazing compassion and empathy for other people going through the loss of a baby.
From the very start of us setting up the charity they have always wanted to be involved. They have helped at every event and have even helped arrange some. They have done things from baking cakes and helping sell them outside local shops, running tombola stalls during fund raising events and arranging for their school to hold a non uniform day. 
Last week they gave up a full day of their half term holidays to shake buckets and hand out leaflets at the Leeds General Infirmary. This time they were accompanied by their little sister, Mila 20 months, who drew in the crowds with her cheeky smile. 




Over the last 2 and a half years these amazing little girls have managed to raise £1000. 

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

This week is going to be pretty busy for all of us at Charlies Angel Centre.

The activities for this week began yesterday with us holding a bucket collection day at Leeds General Infirmary, Clarendon Wing.
We all arrived at 9am to set up for our day ahead. 

We met some lovely people throughout the day and they all gave very generously to us.

At 11am we were joined by Anna, Elsa & Olaf from 'Frozen'. The look on the children's faces when they saw them walking into the hospital was amazing. 
We were allowed to take them up to one of the children's wards to meet up with some children spending time in hospital. To bring a bit of  happiness into their day was wonderful to watch.
We can't say Thank you enough 
to the people from Jolly Tots Themed Parties for coming along and once again donate their time to us.





We raised a fantastic £257 towards the cost of a Cuddle Cot for the Rosemary Suite.

Today we have an interview at Bradford Radio to update them on everything that has been happening with us since our last interview which was back in 2013, so think i'm going to have to work hard on condensing the info as we have done so much. 

Tomorrow is our fortnightly Community Support Meeting at St Cross Vicarage, Middleton, 7pm - 8.30pm. 

Then to top the week off, this is the last week for voting in the Nationwide Big Local Vote. It would be amazing to find out that we had got enough votes to win the £5000 but to win any amount is brilliant and gets us one step closer to achieving our dreams.

We love being busy as it means we are getting our story and Charlies Campaign to reach a wider audience.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Being Nominated for The nationwide big local vote was amazing, never in a million years did we think we would make the top 3 and have a chance of winning £5000, for us to win would mean we could provide so much more for bereaved parents and families, the things we talk about and what we could do could actually happen, but we do need your help there is 1 week to go and we need you to VOTE & SHARE with your friends, family and groups, we are so grateful to everyone for your support in everything we do thank you Carrie. Sam&Clive Ruth&Gary xxxxx

http://your.nationwide.co.uk/your-rewards/Pages/competition.aspx  



Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Charity Collection Day

Next Tuesday we have been given the opportunity to fund raise within our local hospital, Leeds General Infirmary.

The main aim of the day is to help us raise enough money to provide the hospital with a Cuddle Cot, a specialised cooler that can be fitted into moses baskets and cots, allowing bereaved parents and their families extra time to bond and make memories with their baby.

If these had been available when Charlie was born we would have got to spend so much more time with him. 

Some families have even been able to take their baby home to spend a few precious hours in their family environment.


We would love to see as many of our supporters as possible pay us a visit during the day. We will be based in the Clarendon Wing, next to Costa.

As well as having our leaflets and charity goods we will also be having a tombola stall as we have found these to be fun and good money raisers.

We are going to be there throughout the day, so if you do see us please come over and introduce yourself, we love to make new friends.





Friday, 16 October 2015

We are now halfway through The Nationwide Big Local Vote. 

There are 14 days left to vote. As it stands we are 

currently 2nd with 31%.

                           WE NEED YOUR HELP 


To be nominated for this has been fantastic but to win would


be amazing. For Charlies-Angel-Centre it would mean

so much in terms of how we can move forward and 

help so many more people. If we were to win the 1st prize of 

£5000 we could help another 18 bereaved families access 

bereavement counselling over the next 12 months. We 

could purchase a Cuddle Cot, giving bereaved parents the 

gift of time. And we could provide an extra 100 Charlie Bear 

packs for bereaved children.

As a charity we receive no funding, having to raise money 

ourselves. Each year we put on various events to raise 

funds and rely solely on the goodwill of people like 

yourselves to help us.

So today we are asking you to take 1 minute of your time to 

click on the link below and place your vote. The support you

give us means so much to us. 

Thank you from everyone at Charlies-Angel-Centre.

Please share with your friends & family xx


http://your.nationwide.co.uk/your-rewards/

…/competition.aspx

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Community Support Meeting


When you are going through a loss or bereavement it can help to know that there are people out there that want to help and support you. 

We set up our charity to do just that and were so grateful to St Cross Vicarage when they said they would allow us to use their premises to get our meetings up and running. 

So far we have met some lovely people all with very different stories to tell. They are all very brave to come along when sometimes their loss is so raw.

With our recent addition of qualified counselors coming on board we are hoping that we can make their journeys through grief a smoother one.

We welcome any family member affected by a loss or bereavement and would be happy to see our group get bigger, thus enabling us to help more and more people.


Please feel free to come and join us this Thursday, 15th October, and take that first step on your journey.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

please vote for Charlies-Angel-Centre

Last week we found out that members of the public had voted for us in the Nationwide big local vote and we are in the top 3,  we are so honored to be nominated. For making the final 3 we receive £200, that alone is massive for us, and the overall winner receives £5000.

As a small charity we don't receive any funding so anything we try to do we have to raise funds ourselves, whether it's a fun day/car boot/fete or raffle, so we rely on people's generosity.  The thought of winning £5000 and what that would mean for Charlies-Angel-Centre is is mindblowing. 

 For us to win would mean:
(1) we could help an extra 18 families receive bereavement counselling,
(2) buy a Cuddle Cot giving bereaved parents the gift of time
(3) provide bereaved children charlie bear packs plus much more
It takes less than 2 minutes to vote and would mean so much to us, please share and vote
thank you 
                               http://your.nationwide.co.uk/your-rewards/…/competition.aspx





Sunday, 4 October 2015




Press Release - Press Release - Press Release

From:         Charlie’s Angel Centre

                   Supporting bereaved parents and families

To:              Media Organisations

Date:           October 2015

Subject:   Charlie’s Angels are pleased to announce the following;

After two and a half years hard work we are finally seeing progress in the improvements to bereavement support following the loss of a baby/child.
 Our Community Support Meetings are now up and running along with the much needed provision of bereavement counsellors both at the meetings and on an individual basis.


Ruth Curtis (trustee of Charlies Angel Centre) said “It has been a difficult journey but I now feel that things are going to improve for future families. Charlies name will always be associated with the changes in bereavement support.”





Telephone:  0113 3182902 or 07535818225
                                                                        
Email:         Charliesangelcentre@hotmail.com

Address:      92 Sissons Road, Middleton,Leeds. LS10 4JY

Charlies Angel Centre is a Leeds based charity set up to offer
                    help and support to parents and families who have lost their baby or child. 

    We are a normal family having gone through an extraordinary journey.



We chose our name in remembrance of  Charlie Arthur Curtis.



Sunday, 27 September 2015



The single most important factor in healing from loss is having the support of other people. Even if you aren’t comfortable talking about your feelings under normal circumstances, it’s important to express them when you’re grieving. Sharing your loss makes the burden of grief easier to carry. Wherever the support comes from, accept it and DO NOT GRIEVE ALONE. Connecting to others will help you heal.
  • Turn to friends and family members – Now is the time to lean on the people who care about you, even if you take pride in being strong and self-sufficient. Draw loved ones close, rather than avoiding them, and accept the assistance that’s offered. Often, people want to help but don’t know how, so tell them what you need—whether it’s a shoulder to cry on or help with funeral arrangements.
  • Draw comfort from your faith – If you follow a religious tradition, embrace the comfort its mourning rituals can provide. Spiritual activities that are meaningful to you—such as praying, meditating, or going to church—can offer solace. If you’re questioning your faith in the wake of the loss, talk to a clergy member or others in your religious community.
  • Join a support group – Grief can feel very lonely, even when you have loved ones around. Sharing your sorrow with others who have experienced similar losses can help. 
  • Talk to a therapist or grief counselor – An experienced therapist can help you work through intense emotions and overcome obstacles to your grieving.
When you’re grieving, it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself. The stress of a major loss can quickly deplete your energy and emotional reserves. Looking after your physical and emotional needs will help you get through this difficult time.
  • Face your feelings. You can try to suppress your grief, but you can’t avoid it forever. In order to heal, you have to acknowledge the pain. Trying to avoid feelings of sadness and loss only prolongs the grieving process. Unresolved grief can also lead to complications such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and health problems.
  • Express your feelings in a tangible or creative way. Write about your loss in a journal. If you’ve lost a loved one, write a letter saying the things you never got to say; make a scrapbook or photo album celebrating the person’s life; or get involved in a cause or organization that was important to him or her.
  • Look after your physical health. The mind and body are connected. When you feel good physically, you’ll also feel better emotionally. Combat stress and fatigue by getting enough sleep, eating right, and exercising. Don’t use alcohol or drugs to numb the pain of grief or lift your mood artificially.
  • Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel, and don’t tell yourself how to feel either. Your grief is your own, and no one else can tell you when it’s time to “move on” or “get over it.” Let yourself feel whatever you feel without embarrassment or judgment. It’s okay to be angry, to yell at the heavens, to cry or not to cry. It’s also okay to laugh, to find moments of joy, and to let go when you’re ready.
  • Plan ahead for grief “triggers.” Anniversaries, holidays, and milestones can reawaken memories and feelings. Be prepared for an emotional wallop, and know that it’s completely normal. If you’re sharing a holiday or life event with other relatives, talk to them ahead of time about their expectations and agree on strategies to honor the person you loved.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Another absolutely amazing week for us. Things just seem to be going from strength to strength.

This week saw us having another meeting with one of the bosses at St James's hospital to confirm that we will be working in association with the bereavement services within the 2 hospitals. 

Two of the bereavement team came along to our Community Support meeting this Thursday to speak with other families to find out their experiences and anything they felt could be improved. We all felt that the meeting went well and the Bereavement Liaison Officer (Sharon Mobbs) said that it had given her lots of  things to think about and work on.

We also had one of our counselors turn up to the meeting to offer her support and expertise. I think as times go by our counselors will become quite busy. Helping other families has always been one of our main aims and it feels like this is really starting to happen now. 

We also feel that we are one step further to getting an office to work out of, we cant say too much at the moment but we are feeling quite positive. We will update you as we find out more.

There should also be an update about all the changes on Radio Aire very soon. Bethan Davies, from Radio Aire, has always given us so much support and yet again she wants us to go in to update her on everything that has been happening. 

This week also saw our petition reach the 1000 signature mark. It is wonderful to think that so many people have taken their time to sign and share our petition. We have always felt that the more signatures we get the closer we get to improving care and support for families across the UK.

Charlie has truly made a huge impact on the future provisions of bereavement support and will continue to do so for many years to come.

We feel so honoured to have had him come in to our lives and know that his name will be know far and wide.

Charlie Arthur Curtis, a very special little boy.







Thursday, 10 September 2015

The last 48 hours have been absolutely amazing for Charlies Angel Centre. 

Over the last 2 and a half years we have worked so hard to get changes made to the bereavement support currently offered or not offered in many cases. 

At times we have felt like we were hitting our heads against a brick wall and thought that we would never get to where we wanted to be. 

However, we never once thought of giving up. Throughout it all Charlie has been our inspiration and given us the drive to carry on even when we felt it was too hard.

The last 48 hours have shown us that all our campaigning and fund raising has not gone unnoticed.

Yesterday we met with Sharon Mobbs (Bereavement Liaison Officer) from the Bereavement Liaison Services based within St James's Hospital, Leeds.

It is with great delight that we can inform you that we are now working along side the team to provide vital support for the bereaved parents and families of Leeds.

This will mean that Charlies Angel Centre will now be given as an option to families leaving hospital following the loss of their baby.
Our leaflets will be distributed throughout the hospitals and GP services across Leeds and our posters will also be on display signposting families to our various support services.

One of our community support meetings will be attended by the Bereavement Liaison Officer for her to find out what families experiences have been to determine where changes need o be made.

Our second piece of good news is that we have been able to secure the services of 4 qualified counselors to provide counselling free of charge to parents and families (if meet eligibility criteria)through our centre. There will also be opportunities for families to access reduced rate counselling if they are not eligible for the free sessions.
We are hoping that we will be able to secure further counselors in the future  to enhance the current support available.

One of our counselors will also be attending our fortnightly community support meetings to offer their support and expertise.

As you can imagine we are thrilled with these additions to our current service of support and hope that our services keep growing from strength to strength.

Thank you all for your continued support, it means so much to us to know that we have such loyal and amazing members. We hope that you stay with us as we keep growing and making changes to the face of bereavement support across the UK.




Friday, 4 September 2015

There is a lot of publicity at the moment around the current story line in Eastenders.

It is good to see that a main stream programme is tackling this subject and highlighting the effects it has on a family.

I have watched all of the episodes and think that they have done a really good job of showing the emotional turmoil stillbirth and neonatal loss causes.

At times I have found it very hard to watch and have sat here with tears streaming down my face. 
The actors made it feel so real that I felt pain for them but it also made me re live the events leading up to and immediately after Charlies death.

During the episode where it showed the grandfather breaking down and explaining how he felt, my husband, and Charlies grandad found it all to much and took himself and the dog out into the garden.

I am glad that the show producers researched the subject and took advice from charities that work with families after a loss.

The story line continues to unfold and it will be interesting to see how they show the follow up care the family receives. 

If they are to reflect the true picture of care that we and many hundreds of families have encountered then it will show the low level of support that is truly out there.

I'm sure that the show will be looking at in a more positive way, regarding the support, as this isn't real life and it doesn't make such a good story.

Unfortunately we know that this isn't the true picture.

This programme has been very good in bringing this tricky subject to the fore front and this can only be a good thing. People  
need to realise that it is ok to talk about baby loss and that the families going through it need support and friendship.

The actress portraying Shabnam  has done an excellent job of portraying a mum going through a stillbirth and she is also helping to highlight the topic by going on Twitter and starting #saytheirname, where families can go and share the names of their babies they have lost.


Our aim is to be able to help as many families as possible and through this story line the subject of baby death will become less of a taboo subject 

The charity was set up to help other families going through a loss and at the moment things seem to be really happening for us. As and when we get more news we will keep you informed


Friday, 28 August 2015

This week has been a very productive week for the  charity.


Last Thursday saw us hold our very first Community Support Group.
We all felt that it went well and that we can do this. 
We are hoping that over the coming weeks more people will attend and find friendship and support.

We then  received a message from the Leeds General Infirmary saying that our request to hold a fund raising collection day  at the hospital has been ok'd.

We think this could be a really successful money raiser and get us closer to being able to purchase our first Cuddle Cot for the Rosemary Suite.

This Tuesday I then got a phone call  from a journalist who had contacted me through Twitter, asking to come along to meet us on Wednesday to film our story.

Being filmed is always quite nerve wracking and slightly embarassing, but we do it as we know this is the way to reach a wider audience and get Charlie's story out there.

Myself, Carrie and Brad first met the journalist at my house where they filmed us talking about our story and what we are trying to achieve. They also filmed us doing everyday things around the house and with us coming in and out of our house. It all felt very weird and a little silly but we know it will be worth it if it helps our charity. We then went to the church  where we are holding our community meetings. They then asked us about our meetings and spoke with the vicar to hear his view on what we are doing. I was then asked what keeps us inspired to keep going.

This was the easiest question they had asked me all day. Charlie is our inspiration and when we feel things are getting difficult or we are feeling like we are hitting brick walls all we have to do is look at our pictures of Charlie or think about his heroic struggle to live  and that is all the motivation we need to continue on.

All in all its been a very productive week, and we hope that we continue to keep busy. 

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

This Thursday sees our first Community Support Group. 

This is something we have been working hard to get started, as we know how much support is needed for bereaved parents and their families.

We are hoping that we will be able to provide support and friendship to families going through the toughest time of their lives.

The group is going to be an informal group with no pressure on anyone to speak about their loss. 
We want people to feel comfortable and if they feel able to discuss their issues then we will be there to listen. 

None of us have formal qualifications in counselling but we have the experience of having gone through our own loss. We can talk about how we are coping through our bereavement and offer a shoulder for others to lean on.

Over the last 2 and a half years, since losing Charlie, we have all found our own ways of dealing with our grief and everyone of us has our own ways of coping. 
Grief is a very individual thing and whatever way you find works for you is the right way.

Whist going through the internet, looking for information on grief and ways to deal with it I came across this list of do's and don'ts and I would like to share them with you as I think the more informed people are the more able they are to support others.

Do's

  • DO get in touch. Let your concern and care show
  • Do be available to listen, to help with the other children, or whatever else seems needed. Offer help with practical matters like house work and shopping.
  • DO say you are sorry about what has happened and about their pain.
  • DO allow them time to express their grief. Accept silences and don't force them to talk.
  • DO encourage them to be patient with themselves, don't expect too much from themselves.
  • DO allow them to talk about their baby.
  • DO give special attention to the brothers and sisters of the baby that has died.
  • DO reassure them that they did everything that they could for their baby.
  • DO encourage them to seek outside help, either from a professional or another bereaved parent.
  • DO remember the family on the baby's birthday or anniversary of their death, mothers day & fathers day. These can be very tricky dates for the family and showing that you remember the dates can help.
  • DO be patient with them and stay in touch with them.
Don'ts
  • DON'T let your own sense of helplessness keep you from reaching out to the bereaved family.
  • DON'T avoid the family because you feel uncomfortable or don't know what to say.
  • DON'T say you know how they feel (unless you have been through the loss of a child it is impossible to know how they are feeling).
  • DON'T push for details about the child's death. If they want to share details, listen with understanding.
  • DON'T tell them what they should feel or do.
  • DON'T impose your religious or spiritual views.
  • DON'T change the subject when they talk about their baby (it has probably taken them a lot of courage to start talking about what happened).
  • DON'T point out that at least they have another child or could have another baby, no child can ever replace the one they have lost.
  • DON'T blame anyone for the death.
  • DON'T try to find something positive about the babies death, avoid cliches. 
  • DON'T avoid mentioning the babies name out of fear of reminding them of their pain. 
  • DON'T say things like "you ought to be feeling better by now" or "it's time to move on". There are no time limits on grief or the healing process. 


     

Friday, 14 August 2015

what we have learnt



Thousands of parents experience child loss each year: miscarriages and stillborn births, infant death, and sometimes there are children who pass away suddenly without warning, without explanation. But no matter how one loses a child, whether by prolonged illness or sudden death, the loss of a child is perhaps the most profound, the most overwhelming, the most inconsolable of losses to deal with,

As I have learned over the two years and eight months since my grandson's passing, every individual experiences grief differently. Some days you cry until you can't cry, and then you cry some more, other days it feels like you have a heart of stone, no two days are ever the same. Since Charlie died i think everyone in our family deals with our loss in their own way, we all talk about Charlie and we include him in our lives on a daily basis, but we all find it difficult at times to talk about when he was born, the loss we all felt the pain of losing him plus the pain we felt for Carrie, everything that happened goes against everything we hoped for,It violates the natural order of things your children/grandchildren are not supposed to die before you. As many of you know there is no right or wrong way to grieve and it’s about what’s right for you and your family.


29/12/2012 changed the course of lives forever, yes it was one of the hardest and the most painful any of us have ever gone through but what also came out of that day was hope a chance for change though we didn't know this at the time, we all learnt a lot about courage and strength, Charlie had a whole pile of both, as we move forward as a family we will all carry this with us, as we campaign for better bereavement services, better bereavement care we know if we have as much strength and courage as Charlie did then we will achieve what we set out to.


Charlies-Angel-Centre.org.uk