Monday, 26 December 2016

Merry Christmas

We hope you all had a peaceful Christmas and managed to spend time with your loved ones.

This time of year is always very difficult for anyone who has lost someone they loved. 
All the families are getting together and spending time with each other. 
But for those that have lost someone, they still get together with their families but there is always the feeling that someone is missing.

On Friday, 23rd December, we had our final fundraising event of the year. 
We had been allowed to do another bag packing day at our local Asda store in Middleton. 

The staff plus their Community Champion, Leigh Bell-Peirce, have shown us amazing support over the last couple of years. Asda always like to give back to their communities and we have definitely seen them do that for us.

We asked another local group, Bots and Tots, to come along with us on the day to make sure we had every till manned giving us the best chance of raising lots of money. 

Our day started at 11 am, we all arrived ready for a very busy day ahead. With it being the last but one shopping day before Christmas we were expecting it to be manic. 

We were not disappointed.

The tills were full throughout the day, there was never a time when any of us were stood waiting for people to come to the till.

We met some lovely people throughout the day and lots of them either gave money at the till or at the table where we had our wristbands and pens along with our leaflets. 

There were quite a few people who asked what we were raising money for and when we told them they then told us how thy had had a loss in their family.

We even had a few staff members who came back to see us after they had finished their shifts to come and donate or buy a wristband.

At 5pm we finished for the day, most of us had stayed at the tills for the full 6 hours, a few had had short breaks to recharge their batteries. 

We went over to the cafe to start the massive task of counting the money. The shoppers of Middleton had done us proud.

The total amount of money we raised was £585.60, which meant between the two groups we took for our charity £292.80.

At a time of year when most people need all the  money they can to make their family's Christmas special they found it in their hearts to give so much to us. 

We are always amazed and astounded by the generosity of the people we come into contact with and the people who came shopping on Friday just confirmed it.

We will be getting together in the New Year to set out our calendar of events for Charlies Angel Centre for 2017. As soon as we have the details we will let you all know. We hope you will all continue to support us help us get the support and friendship out to bereaved parents and families across the UK.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Thursday saw us host our first Charlies Christmas Memorial Evening.

It seems strange to say but we were really looking forward to the event.

Getting together with other bereaved families to give support and friendship especially at this time of year can have a real beneficial effect.

The evening started at 6.30pm but we got there earlier to set up and greet the children who were coming along to sing a song at the beginning of the evening.

We had bought a Christmas tree and some beautiful heart baubles, for families to write messages on, to hang on the tree.

Once the children had finished their song vicar Andy Myers said a few words of comfort to everyone and a fellow vicar did a reading.

We had placed an order of service and a keepsake for all the families to take away with them on the pews.

Andy then read out the names of all the 'angels' we had come to honour and as he read them out the families came up to light a candle. 
If a family had not been able to come along to the evening we lit a candle for them. It was very emotional but also lovely to see so many people coming together to honour their children.

During the evening, before we came into the church I was approached by Tracey Asquith, a lady we have come to know through her own loss and setting up of a Foundation Charity in memory of her son, Kyle. She said that she had a cheque that she wanted to give to us and she wanted to do it during the service. 

After all the candles had been lit I went up and said thank you to everyone who had come along and then invited Tracey up to pass over the cheque. 
We didn't know at this point how much the cheque was for. 
Tracey handed it to me and it took me a while before I could tell everyone how much it was for. When I looked at the amount it bought tears to my eyes, thinking that another charity could be so generous. 
They had donated a huge £500.
It still amazes me as I am writing it down now of their generosity. 
It also made us feel so proud that our 2 boys, Charlie & Kyle, have made such an impact on others lives.

Before we went into the vicarage I reminded the families that there were some baubles with beautiful card angel wings for them to write a message on and place on our tree.
When they had all been hung on the branches the tree looked amazing.

During the evening we had been selling raffle tickets, so as our final part of the event we asked the vicar to pull out all the winning tickets. We had been donated some amazing prizes and all the winners seemed to be really happy with theirs.

One of the prizes donated was 4 x breakfasts at No 28 Cafe in Middleton. The man who won it didn't live in the area so decided to give it to the vicar and asked him to give it to someone in the area that could really benefit from it. What a wonderful thing to do.

The evening had turned out to be a wonderful way for us all to come together to honour our babies and children as well as giving each other support.

The event never started out as one that would be a big fundraiser for us, but due to the generosity of The Kyle Asquith Foundation and the families that bought so many raffle tickets, we raised a massive £765.85.

Thank you so much to everyone who helped us make the night such a fantastic one. This time of year can be very hard for grieving families and coming together like we did can bring comfort and strength to each other. 

2016 has been such a great year for our charity and none of it would have been possible without the support and dedication we get from the families we work with, our trustees and our faithful supporters.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Depression and anxiety often go hand in hand with bereavement and loss. 

People who have never experienced a loss don't always understand how anxiety can be linked to grief, and I guess I never truly appreciated how much of an impact it could have. 

Everyone can understand how a family can be feeling low and suffering with depression, it is accepted that death and depression can go together.

Anxiety on the other hand is not seen in the same way. 
In reality anxiety can be totally disabling and have longer lasting effects.

We are coming up to Charlie's 4th birthday at the end of December and many people now think that we should have all moved on. What I always say is how can you move on when there is a little boy who should be here with us but is now an angel.

I think people confuse moving on with getting over the loss and I think we have moved on. 

We will never get over the loss of Charlie and we will always ensure that he is a big part of our lives.

However we can now function on a day to day basis,whereas 3 years ago we were probably coping hour to hour.
I also think that whilst we have moved on we still do so with Charlie always in our thoughts. 

The biggest difference I would say is that now we are able to remember Charlie and talk about him without breaking down. 

When I talk about Charlie now I do so with pride and admiration for him and his mummy's fight for survival. 
I still do shed tears but I can usually keep hold of them until I am in the security of my home.

Unless you have experienced such a loss I don't think you can truly understand it.
Lots of people can empathise with you and they do so in a wonderful way and offer support and love. 
However they can never fully understand the depth of emotions stored up inside you.

Throughout the year emotions can change so quickly and you can go from feeling quite strong to feeling total despair. There will be times in the year when you come upon significant events like a birthday or mothers day and it makes functioning so much harder.

We often talk to parents and other family members that say how the hardest thing to deal with after the initial heart breaking pain is the feeling of anxiety that follows. 

Trying to cope with day to day issues such as what to have for dinner can bring on a total state of confusion and anxiousness.  

Anxiety can manifest itself in many ways, from sweaty palms and fast heart rate, to feeling like you are going to throw up or something dreadful is about to happen. 
When you try to explain these feelings to others it is hard to actually describe how it effects you.

Going out from the house is a major difficulty that bereaved families talk about. 

Initially you are anxious that people will know that something has happened and will react differently.
There is also the worry that friends and colleagues will try to avoid you which makes you feel anxious going back to places where you know you will bump into them.

A lot of people have said how the anxiety can suddenly take over your brain in the most random places and without warning. 
A common place seems to be the supermarket whilst doing the shopping. 
Many parents have said that suddenly in the middle of the shop they have found themselves unable to think straight or even move. 
Often they will have to call someone that can come along to help them or may have to stand there until the overwhelming fear subsides.

Never underestimate the power that anxiety can have on your life and it can affect anyone. 
It is not a condition that only affects one gender or a certain age group. 
More and more professionals are now saying that anxiety is one of the largest conditions they treat and even children are not immune.

The pressures of day to day life can result in anxiety, so throw into that a loss or a traumatic event and you can see why so many bereaved families struggle with it.

If you are a family going through a loss or bereavement remember that our charity is always there for you to talk to, and we don't mind what you want to talk to us about. 
Sometimes it is just having someone to be able to offload to or just to break the cycle of anxiety. 

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Since we lost Charlie in 2012 we have met some amazing families who were also going through the loss of their baby or child. 

If we had not been blessed to have had Charlie in our lives we would never have met these people, and been able to help them. 
Ideally we would not have lost Charlie but we truly believe that he was given to us for a reason and that helps us to keep going and fighting for change. 

One of the main things we have learnt is that there is no 'normal' or 'standard' way to get through a loss.

The families we have spoken with have all been at different stages of their loss some having lost their child many years ago and some that have only just lost their child.

We have also met with many different relations to the child as well, all struggling with the loss.

Some times the public thinks that the ones that should be struggling through their grief are the parents, although we have also seen that the father can get overlooked. 
If we had not been through this we would probably have also thought like that.  

The one thing we have come to realise, as a family, is that every member of the family is affected in many different ways.

Understandably the parents are the ones who feel the death most closely and painfully and the support is aimed at them, if they are lucky enough to be offered it. 

Whilst we were not given professional support we did give each other help and comfort. 

From talking with lots of families affected by death we have found that other relatives often feel that they are overlooked and seen as not needing the same help. We know that this is not true.

Every member of that family will feel the loss at some time and whilst it will all be at a different level and in a different way they will all need help to come to terms with the loss. It is not just the adults within the family that struggle either, the children will also find it difficult to deal with.

At times we felt that we didn't want to talk to each other about Charlie as we didn't want to upset each other but after time we realised that in fact it was often the total opposite. Talking about Charlie together helped us to grieve.

If you know a family that is going through a loss, however long ago it might have been, please take the time to talk to them about their child as they do want to share them and keep their memory alive. 

Just by acknowledging their child's existence can mean so much to them, and as we enter the Christmas period it can mean so much more during what can be such a difficult time of year.

And don't forget about the other members of the family, the grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts & uncles, cousins as they will also need to talk about how the loss has changed them. Asking them how they are doing is all it can take to make them see that their feelings are important to.

Grief can be overpowering and overwhelming and does change you but having supportive friends and family around you can make a real difference.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Our Christmas Memorial Service is quickly coming up. 

When we first announced the event, the 15th of December felt a long way off.
Like the rest of this year the weeks have past so quickly.

The event organisation is coming along well and we think that it is going to be a lovely evening. 
It seems strange describing a memorial event as 'lovely' but we see it as a way of families coming together to celebrate the lives of their loved ones and to give support to each other.

We have got a local choir, from Beeston, Leeds, coming along on the night to add some wonderful voices to the event.

There is still time for you to get in touch with us if you would like your baby or child's name entered into our memorial book.

If you are not able to attend the event we will still read out your child's name and light a candle in their memory. 

There is also going to be some Christmas tree baubles with labels attached for you to write a message on, again if you are unable to come along just let us know what you would like written on and we will do it for you.

If you would like to attend and have other children please feel free to bring them along as well. There will be craft activities available for them to take part in and feel part of the evening.

We will also be drawing our annual Christmas Raffle during the evening. 
If you would like to purchase tickets please get in touch with us. You can do this through our social media, email ( or via our website 
We have had some amazing support again with lots of people and businesses donating our raffle prizes.

We hope to see you all there on the night to help us celebrate and remember the lives of so many special babies and children.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

This year is going so quickly, I cannot believe that in just 10 days we will be in to December.

Whilst this year has been such a positive one for our charity the increase in families contacting us means that there are so many more families trying to deal with the death of their baby or child.

December is always a busy month for families, you have the excitement of Christmas with the added stresses that it can bring. 
Parents worry that they cannot afford all the presents their children are asking for and then there is all the shopping. 

Families argue who they are going to spend the festivities with and you end up splitting yourself in so many ways.

When you become a family that has a baby or child in heaven Christmas can also be a very lonely and painful time.

You sit at home watching adverts all about children and toys. These are the things that can bring so much pain to bereaved families.

Whilst we are so happy for the families that are all able to spend the holidays with their loved ones, it also hurts knowing that they will never get to do that.

If you know a family that has been through a bereavement spare them a thought as December arrives. 

Maybe make that little more effort to check on them to make sure they are ok, or offer to go round for a coffee and a chat.

Bereavement can be very lonely and isolating and a lot of families find it difficult to reach out for help and support. 
By just knocking their door, or giving them a call and reaching out to them you could make so much difference to their current situation.

We find December difficult as we reach Charlies birthday and this year he would be turning 4. 
Our way of dealing with this time of year is to all get together and celebrate his birthday, usually doing something we think Charlie would enjoy. 
Whilst we know we will all still feel sad being together gives us all support and love to cope.

We know some families do not feel able to do that and having a friend to nip round during the festivities can make all the difference.

Lets try and make this December a time where we all try and offer friendship and support to other families.

Friday, 11 November 2016

First I would like to apologise for the lack of a blog entry last week. unfortunately I was ill and spent most of the week sleeping.

During the last couple of weeks we decided to relaunch our quarterly newsletter.

If there are any specific items you would like us to have on our newsletter please drop us a line,

Below is the link to our current newsletter, we would love to get some feedback on what we have included.

We love sharing the things we have done with all of you and especially like it when we can share progress and achievements made by the charity.

Our next newsletter will let you know what some of our plans are for 2017. 
We all feel that it is going to be another fantastic year for us and that bereavement support will continue to be on the agenda within Leeds NHS. 
We know that we will not decrease our efforts and campaigns both locally and nationally and we would love to get Bereavement Support high on the agenda within parliament.

Thank you all for your continued support, it means so much to us and definitely inspires us to keep fighting.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

We have met some pretty awesome people through setting up our charity, many of which have given us both their physical, emotional and financial support for free. 

We always had the dream and drive that Charlies Angel Centre would become a world wide known charity but I don't think we ever thought that everything would happen so quickly.

When we initially looked into starting up a charity we were told by many people that it can take up to 5 years for a new charity to become known well. We even spoke to other charities who also told us how hard those first few years can be.

They were right but I think we have achieved so much in a much shorter space of time. 
Maybe it's because we are all pretty stubborn and determined and don't let things lie but whatever it is we have kept going even when things have become really tough and emotionally draining.

We are now in our 3rd year, nearly approaching our 4th, and things are just going from strength to strength.

At the start we were having to do all the contacting, phoning and ruffling feathers within the local NHS and other businesses but now we have people contacting us asking how they can help us. 

Only today we have been contacted by an MP asking for our help, rather than the other way round.

Some days when we allow ourselves to sit back and look at what we have achieved it is quite surreal. 

We now regularly attend meetings with business managers and NHS bosses and we all seem to take it in our stride, there are still a few nerves but nothing like we used to experience. 

We now feel that we are going into these meetings as equals and that we have a service that they now want to access. They also now ask us for our advice.

As we approach the last 2 months of 2016 the feeling is that 2017 is going to be a huge year for the charity. 

Not only do we think that our work with the NHS will just continue to grow but we are hopeful that our campaigning to get changes to the current provisions of bereavement support will get heard within parliament.

Our journey will continue and we really hope that you all stay with us and keep showing us the support and friendship you do now.

Charlie will definitely become the face of changes to the support bereaved parents and their families receive both in Leeds and across the UK. 

Charlie always has been and always will be a very special, brave little boy to us but now other families will be helped by his courage and his legacy will go on.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

We have attended a few memorial events since we lost Charlie and have found them a nice way of honouring Charlies memory so we have decided to host our own event this Christmas.

Memorial events are very emotional, but a great way for families to get together with other families. This can be a good way of finding support and friendship and also sharing their angels story.

Our event is being held on Thursday 15th December at 6.30pm at St Cross Church, Middleton Park Avenue, Middleton, Leeds. LS10 4HX.

During the evening the service will be led by vicar Andy Myers who had given us a lot of support over the last 3 years. 
He will be reading out the names of the babies and children we are their to remember and inviting everyone to light a candle in their memory.

There will be the opportunity for everyone to write a message or their child's name on a Christmas bauble to go on the tree that will be in the church.

There will be some craft activities for any children that come along to the event and we will also be having our annual Christmas Raffle.

If you cannot make the event you can message us with your child's details and we will light a candle for you and add their name to a bauble.

We would love to see you there but totally understand if you find it to difficult to come. Christmas time can be an emotional time for any family but when you have lost a child it can be even harder.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

This week is Baby Loss Awareness week culminating in supporters lighting a candle on October 15th at 7pm, regardless of whereabouts in the world you live. 

This will mean that if everyone lights their candles for an hour at 7pm there will be a continuous Wave of Light over the entire globe. 

Charlies-Angel-Centre is supporting this and we would like all our friends, supporters and followers to join with us in lighting a candle.

Many businesses across the world have shown their support by having lights on their buildings. 

Here in Leeds the First Direct Arena is turning blue and pink from 7pm tonight in support of the cause.

This subject is still not an easy one to talk about and this needs to change. 
1 in 5 UK families are affected in some way by baby loss and they need support and friendship to help them to cope with their situation.

No one likes to think that babies and children die but for their families it is something they have to live with on a daily basis. Knowing that there are people out there that want to help them can make a real difference to their day.

We have families contacting us on a daily basis reaching out for the support they so vitally need. 
We know how hard it is for families to take that first step and by raising the profile of baby loss we hope it can only make it a little easier for them.

It would be fantastic if the Government could see from this week how much support this issue is receiving and how many families are out there that are not currently getting the help they need. 

All it would take is for 1 or 2 MP's to take this cause under their wing and start making noises within parliament to get this issue moved up the agenda, hopefully getting a coordinated approach to bereavement support across Great Britain.

We would love it if you could send us some pictures of your lit candle so we can share them and remember your angels. 

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

We have had a really positive week fundraising. 

Last Saturday we went along to our local Asda, Middleton, to receive our cheque from them for being the green token scheme winner for the last quarter.

We are so grateful to all the staff and shoppers at the shop for choosing us out of the 3 good causes. The other 2 causes were equally worthy of support so for us to win means so much.
We were presented with a very big cheque, both physically and monetary. The amount given to us from the Asda Foundation was £500.

On Saturday afternoon we then went along to a local pub, near the Leeds City Football Club, to shake our buckets.

The Old Peacock on Elland Road were brilliant, they allowed us free roam of their pub and grounds to get as many of their patrons to donate some money. We met some lovely people who very very generous with their money and their time. Lots wanted to find out all about us and what we were raising funds for. 

Charlies 3 cousins, Rhiann, Amy & Mila came along with us to use their cute factor to help with the fundraising. Despite their young ages they all helped us so much. Even 2 year old Mila toddled around, bucket in hand, shaking away and saying thank you to everyone who gave. She even gave a couple of people a high five. 

In total we raised £117

I know we say it all the while but it is so true. We are blown away by the generosity of the people we come into contact with.

Thank You to everyone out there that has contributed to our cause.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

When you go through the loss of a baby or child you expect to go through many different emotions. 
I think that you expect to feel sad and angry and I also get that you can block it out almost denying it has happened. 
The one thing I didn’t expect to feel was anxious.

I associated anxiety with a feeling you get when you are waiting to take a test or waiting for your results. 

I never really understood the power of anxiety.

Now I totally understand where anxiety fits into grief, and how it can happen at any time after your loss and when you are least expecting it.

Anxiety is a crafty little bugger that can creep up on you, when you think you are doing ok, and slap you round the face.

It is also an emotion that anyone affected by grief or loss can experience and often men will say that they feel anxious rather than depressed.

The effects of anxiety are different for everyone and a symptom that I might experience may not be felt by someone else.

I have found that I get periods of time when I panic about anything and everything and get this feeling in my chest that something is about to go wrong. 
I can be driving along feeling totally fine when suddenly I feel my mouth going dry or I am clenching my teeth. 
Another day it can be a headache that just won’t go away or a stomach that won’t stop churning.

I can understand why people often think they are ill rather than suffering with anxiety as it gives you real physical symptoms, often going to the GP with lots of different ailments. 
It can often be misdiagnosed by GP’s as hypochondria, but if you have a good GP that will take the time to talk to you or find out your history then you can get the right support you need.

In today’s society there is a lot of talk about mindfulness and I will admit that I am a bit sceptical; however I am also of the thinking that if it helps someone then it has to be ok.
I think it is the word Mindfulness I find strange as when you look into it it has been around for years and has been called many different things e.g relaxation 

The one thing I do know is that if you are suffering from anxiety then you do need to get some support. 
That support can come in many ways and might just be a drink down the pub with a friend to attending a formal relaxation session.

Whatever you finds works for you is the right way forward for you.

We have a lot of families that come to us or contact us and after talking with them you can see that they too are struggling with anxiety as well as their grief. 
It can be totally debilitating for them and can lead to some even struggling to get out of their house. 
Some have described how they have been going about their everyday things, like shopping, and suddenly have had this overwhelming feeling of panic and have had to just leave everything and get out of the shop or have just stood there and started to cry inconsolably.

Just remember that whatever you are experiencing is totally ok and normal for someone going through a loss or bereavement. 

There is no time limit on it and you could find that it can suddenly affect you years down the line, this again is ok.

I would say to you if you are experiencing any of these feelings to please try and seek help even if it is not from your doctor. 

Give us a call or drop us a line as we are always here to support you. 

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Last weekend was such an amazing time for the charity.

On Friday I attended the National Diversity Awards at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. We had been nominated for an award in the Multi strand section and we were very proud to be shortlisted from 20,000 other deserving charities, people and companies.

It was an amazing evening with fantastic food and inspirational stories. We didn't win our category but I feel that we were all winners as everyone there does something to support others in their communities. It was great to meet with other organisations and I was able to make some new friends who have said they would like to support our charity.

Then Saturday evening was our first Autumn Charity Ball.

We all met up at the venue on Saturday morning, many of us feeling very nervous and anxious to get the day started.

We all got into the room and began to get it all sorted for the night. We put silks on the ceiling, dressed the tables and chairs and made beautiful decorations to hang from the ceiling. When it was all done it really looked amazing.

Despite the nerves the evening was a resounding success, everyone said what a wonderful evening they had.

The food was excellent and the entertainment was fantastic.

We raised £990 on the auction lots and in total with ticket sales we made £3070.

We cannot say thank you enough to everyone who helped us get the event up and running, the people that donated their time and services for free and for all the people who bought tickets and made it into a special evening.

During the evening we awarded our first Star Fundraiser awards which went to Charlies beautiful cousins, Rhiann & Amy, who over the last 3 years have raised £2000. 

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

On Sunday 11th September we went down to Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham to take part in the 'Comfort Event Day' organised and hosted by Penny and Richard from Comfort and a Hand of Friendship for those affected by Stillbirth.

Penny and Richard had experienced the loss of their little girl Lily Eloise born sleeping on 4th September 2014. 

There were other charities and keepsake stalls there, many which we follow on Facebook and Twitter. 
It was great to be able to put a face to the people we have chatted to and followed as they develop and grow.

Throughout the day there was plenty of time to just talk to other families that have been through the loss of a baby or child. This support, without worrying that you may upset someone by talking about your child, was really wonderful.

Penny and Richard had asked four of the charities attending to deliver a talk to the attendees during the afternoon.
Each one gave an account of why they set up their charity and what they have achieved so far. It was both emotional and inspiring to hear their stories.

There were different activities put on for people to honour their baby/child. 
From writing down your favourite saying, decorating a butterfly to commemorate their lives, sharing a poem you have found comforting or even a poem you had written about your experience.

Following a lovely lunch put on by the hotel there was an opportunity to go out into the gardens to have a Bubble Release for our angels. This was a really lovely thing to do and gave people another chance to talk and give each other support.

Towards the end of the day everyone came together to listen to some poems and for Penny and Richard to thank everyone for attending and making it such a successful day.
To finish the event there was the opportunity to light a candle in memory of your child and to have a couple of minutes for silent reflection.

We are so glad that we attended the event and really hope that they put on another one next year. 
There needs to be more opportunities like this for bereaved families to come together for support and friendship and for charities to come together to share what they do and see if there are other charities they could refer families onto. 

The more support that is out there for bereaved families the less difficult it is for them to work through their grief. No one should have to face it alone and by networking on the day we are now more aware of other services there are for us to recommend to clients.

Thank you to Penny and Richard for the massive task of organising the event and thank you to everyone we got to talk with on the day.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

When you are experiencing grief it can feel a very lonely place to be.
Loneliness has been described as having 2 sides - one described as being 'lonely' which is more of a negative feeling and 'solitude' which can be described as the glory of being alone.

When you find yourself going through grief you will probably experience both sides of being alone. The first thing you will probably feel is the overwhelming sense of missing your baby or child and the thought of all the things you have lost. You would give anything to have them back in your arms.Other times you might need the quiet of solitude to enable you to process everything that has happened. Getting away from others and the pressures of daily life can sometimes be helpful. You need time to be alone to reflect on what has happened and to come to terms with the feelings you are experiencing. This time can also be a time when you feel safe to let your tears flow and try and figure out how you can go on.

Today's society isn't comfortable with the subject of death and few of us know how to cope with the pain and grief. We don't encourage the free expression of sorrow, instead we learn to control our feelings and hide our pain from others. 

When you are a child you are taught that grief is a taboo subject and that feelings should be buried or done alone.

As an adult you may feel to embarrassed to let your emotions show in front of others which in turn can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Some are reluctant to turn to others for help and support as they don't want to be seen as a burden or because they are afraid that others won't know what to do with your feelings.

Other people you know may be done with their grieving long before you and can expect you to be 'over it by now' or are worried that you are 'holding onto your grief'. 
This can sometimes lead to others avoiding you or avoiding talking about your loss which in itself can enhance your feeling of loneliness.

We set up our charity to try and help grieving families to find support and help when they are feeling lonely and in need of a friendly shoulder. We know how difficult it can be at times just getting through the day and that there are times when you just do not feel up to seeing another human being. That's why we decided to offer telephone and email support as some days you do not want to have to face someone but you can type a message or pick up a phone. 

Recently we were approached by a lady, Teresa Mack, who has recently undergone training in the 'Grief Recovery Method' and would like to offer an 8 week course to anyone who is experiencing a loss or bereavement.

The course will be free of charge and the only commitment needed is to turn up for the 8 sessions. The sessions would be held during the evening and would probably be from 7 - 9 pm at St Georges Centre, Middleton, Leeds. The day will be confirmed once there are enough people signed up to take part.

Teresa herself has experienced loss and wants to be able to help others deal with their grief/loss.

If you think that this is something you would be interested in attending please get in touch with us via email - or website

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Over the last 3 years talking to parents and their families, one thing that has stood out is the feelings of jealousy and resentment towards friends/family members that have become pregnant. 
Some feel so bad that they should feel like this as these are their friends but it is a normal reaction following the loss of your own baby.
Seeing other pregnant women can be very difficult to face when you have suffered a loss. Seeing babies can sometimes be even worse. 
It is totally OK to feel like this, anger, jealousy and resentment are all normal feelings of grief and you are entitled to have them. Don't let other people make you feel bad for having these feelings.
These feelings are also Ok for other family members to experience, they are also grieving and seeing pregnant ladies or babies can stir feelings of 'what could have been'.
When we lost Charlie I know that I used to find it difficult when I would see women with their children who were shouting at them. I would want to go up and say how lucky they are to have such wonderful healthy children, don't waste any moment you have with them.
It can also be difficult when you see friends or colleagues complaining about how they are feeling during their pregnancy, complaining of morning sickness or tiredness. You understand that they may be feeling bad but you would love to be in that position.
Some of the people we have spoken with have said that to start with after their loss they found it easier to try and avoid seeing their pregnant friends/relatives.
This is also ok, if this is what helps you survive through your grief then it is the right thing for you to do. This won't go on forever and you will reach the point where you feel comfortable to be around pregnant ladies or small babies.
There is no point forcing yourself into these situations as it will just be too much for you emotionally. Why should you make yourself do something that will cause you more pain and heartache. You need to remember that you are the important one at the moment and whatever makes it less painful has to be ok.
Some of the families we work with have also told us that when they were pregnant their friend was also at the same stage of their pregnancy and they used to be able to swap stories and experiences. Now they find it extremely hard to be around them as it just reminds them of what they should be experiencing. 
Again this is perfectly normal to feel like this and in time these feelings will ease. If they are close friends they will totally understand why you have to distance yourself at the time and will be there for you when you do feel ready.
Eventually you will feel strong enough, and will remember how good it was to be pregnant, and you will find that you can become excited for friends or family who become pregnant.
When you feel stronger you will also start to think that it is not their fault that they are pregnant and it is not their baby you are missing. You will get back to feeling happy for them.
The one thing I would always say is to remember to be honest, both to yourself and others. If you are finding it difficult or are struggling to be around pregnant ladies then say so, if they are friends they will totally understand.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Over the last 3 years we have never given up hope that we will make a change to the face of bereavement support for parents and their families after the loss of their baby or child. 

We have had some very difficult times and times when we have felt like we were not getting anywhere, but then something would happen that would motivate and inspire us again.

The last 8 months have been absolutely amazing for the charity and we now see ourselves as being an established organisation that the NHS and other organisations take seriously.

We have had to run the charity from our own houses since we set up and gradually they have gotten fuller and fuller. 

Two weeks ago we managed to organise storage to enable us to empty out our spare rooms of all the things we have accumulated.

Last week Clive Key, trustee, spent many hours turning their now spare room into an office for us to use for the charity. 

He has done an amazing job and we have been very lucky to have furniture and carpeting donated so keeping the costs to a minimum.

It will make it so much easier for us now to have a central area to keep all the paperwork together and having an area for us to meet up or invite people to meet us there.


Things are certainly looking really positive for Charlies-Angel-Centre and we think that the next 12 months will see us get even busier.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

why there's no time limit on grief

Probably the most common question we are asked is "When will i feel better?" It's a little like asking, "How high is up?" Grief is a lifelong process. While the agonizing pain of loss diminishes in intensity over time, it's never gone completely. It is absolutely normal to feel the aftershock of loss for the rest of your life. Grieving is not a reaction to a single event, like an illness that can be cured and from which you will recover. It's more like a deep wound that eventually heals and closes, but whose scar remains and still can hurt at times.

Don't put a time limit on your grief. And don't let others set one for you either. A broken heart leaves many people feeling stunned and stuck. Try to focus on the basics of a daily routine. Get out of bed. Take a shower. Go for a walk. Feel the sun on your face. If you feel fragile, limit your exposure to emotionally driven events. That doesn't mean to cocoon yourself away from people. some days are going to be harder than others, but taking one day at a time is a start 

MYTH # 1:

Grief is a negative experience which must be gotten over quickly. Life must go on. 
Truth: Grief is a normal, appropriate reaction to loss. Grief gives the individual time to do self-evaluation and to reconcile themselves to the change in the relationship with the person who has died. The only way to get through grief is to experience and cope with it. Embracing grief and its painful emotions leads to healing. In grief and loss, emotions are neither good nor bad. They just exist.

MYTH # 2:

Grievers are best left alone to grieve.
Truth: Occasional solitude can be helpful for mourners. To be alone with your thoughts now and then can be helpful. Mourners need opportunities to share their memories and receive comfort from others. Community and support systems play an important part in a healthy grief journey.

MYTH # 3:

Giving into grief and its emotions shows weakness, a lack of faith or spiritual strength.
Truth: All people, whatever their religious or spiritual beliefs or practices, experience grief at the loss of a valued loved one. Spiritual and religious beliefs can be a comfort and can provide additional resources to ease mourning, but they cannot eliminate completely grief or the pain of loss.

MYTH # 4:

Grief is a predictable process and takes place in successive stages.
Truth: Although common emotions and grief tasks toward healing are experienced by all mourners. grief is not a linear, predictable process. Grief is a progressive, individualized
journey to healing.

MYTH # 5:
Grief can finally end. 
Truth: Time gives people an opportunity to heal and to learn new coping skills, but the process and pain of grief can last a life time. The good news is that the intense mourning period immediately following the loss does not have to last a lifetime. Grief and the mourner change over time.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Yesterday saw one of our supporters, Anna Bishop, compete in the Leeds 5K at Roundhay Park. 

I went along with Charlies 3 cousins, Rhiann, Amy & Mila to give her lots of support and encouragement.

Anna will say herself that she is not a person who runs (a lady after my own heart) but she wanted to do something that was a challenge.

Anna did the run in memory of her son, Jonah, who was born sleeping on 7th April 2016.

Anna has also signed up to do the 5K Colour Run in Birmingham later on in August.

We are all so proud of her to even consider doing something for our charity. She has struggled sometimes to get out and train as she has a little 2 year old who takes up a lot of her time.

When you have lost a baby or child you can often find it hard to get out and about as you are worried about how people will be around you and how they will interact with you. 
Often it is easier and definitely less stressful to just stay at home where you feel safe and protected.

Anna has fought through this and even when she felt really nervous she kept on going.

Luckily it was a beautiful day for the race and there were plenty of people encouraging people on. 

Anna's husband and son were also there on the side line cheering and clapping.

Anna found a lady at the start of the race who was also running alone so they decided to keep each other company. 
I think having someone else to keep you motivated can be such a help and Anna said that she found having someone with her definitely made her race easier.

So far Anna has raised a massive £1437.50. 

We have been blown away by the generosity of her supporters, but it just confirms what a wonderful lady she is as so many of her sponsors left some wonderful messages.

We will keep you up to date with how her next run goes.

Thank You so much Anna for all you have done for Charlies-Angel-Centre, you truly are an amazing lady.