Friday, 24 February 2017

Since we lost Charlie and started the charity two of his cousins, Rhiann & Amy have always wanted to be involved in everything we do. 
They want to come along to every event we organise or attend and where it is appropriate they do come along. 

At the beginning when they were only 7 & 5 they had a couple of days where they decided that they wanted to bake some cakes and sell them to make some money. They did this on a couple more occasions and even stood outside a shopping area selling them.

With a little support from the rest of us they approached their headteacher and asked if they could hold a none uniform day with all their school friends donating a £1 to come in their own clothes. Again another great fundraising event by these fantastic young girls.

Every time we arrange to go out and do a bucket shaking event they always say they will come along, often spending many hours standing around with smiles on their faces. Last year they even came to the Leeds Rhino's home game in the rain to shake a bucket. Not even the cold and rain could put them off. 
Some of the adults involved found it hard going but these 2 girls did it with smiles on their faces.

When we have arranged some events that they have been able to take part in they have still come along to cheer people on. For example last year we had two supporters run in the 'Gung Ho' event at Temple Newsam. Once they saw the course and the giant inflatables they were so eager to have a go themselves, but walked round the course cheering all the way.

A couple of weeks ago we saw an event that has been specially designed for children to take part in. As soon as the girls saw it they both straight away said they wanted to do it.
We have now got them all signed up to take part in this and are currently trying to help them get as much sponsorship as we can.
The event they are taking part in is the 'Radical Run' which is a 3km giant inflatable assault course. Rhiann and Amy are now 10 and 8 and are definitely determined to get round the course as quick as they can.

We will all be there cheering them on but we would love to get these girls to their target of raising £500. There is a Just Giving page set up all ready for people to start donating. We would love it if as many of you as you can could go to the site and make a donation. It doesn't matter if it a £1 or £5, every penny counts.

These two girls have shown amazing devotion to doing as much as they can in memory of their cousin and we would love to see them get to their goal as it will make them feel so proud of themselves. Here is the link to their Just Giving page, so lets get their total achieved before they run the race.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Everyone encounters grief at some point in their life. Some just have to face it earlier than others.

The first death you usually go through is that of a pet. 

When you are a child this can be the most upsetting thing you can go through. 
You invest a lot of time into this animal and often you tell your pets things you would never tell your parents. They become your best friend and your confidante.

Learning how to deal with death when your pet dies can be an important experience as you grow up. 
Your parents can use this experience to talk to you about death and how nothing lasts forever. 
There are lots of beautiful books that parents can use to help them to talk to their children about losing someone. 

In all of this though death seems to be explained away as happening to those that are elderly or ill which we know from experience isn't always the case.

The first family death most children or young adults encounter is that of the grandparent. 

A lot of families try to shelter their children away from what is going on as they think that the child is too young to deal with it. 

Whilst I agree with this to some degree I do think that children do need to be involved in the discussion around the death as they have been affected by it too. 

If they are not included they may become confused as what has happened to grandma, granddad, Auntie etc. 

Children are a lot more resilient than we give them credit for and often take it in a much more logical way than an adult does.

As you get older it becomes almost expected that you will be affected by grief and the way you were helped to understand it as a child can have an impact on how you cope with it as an adult.

The one thing that I don't think anyone can be prepared for is the death of a baby or child. 
This goes against the natural process of living, growing old and then dying. 
No parent or grandparent ever thinks that they will out live their children and grandchildren.

Yet in reality there are so many families out there having to deal with just this situation. Many of them are doing it alone or with very little help and support.

Everyone needs support, friendship and help in everyday life so when they are going through a loss this need just gets bigger. 
I also feel that this need for support is multiplied by a million when it is their baby, child, grandchild.

When you first find out you are going to be a mum, dad, nanna, granddad, auntie or uncle you automatically start planning things (in your head) for the future. You start to prepare for their arrival with excitement, going shopping now becomes fun rather than a chore. 

Then to be told that there is a problem with your baby or your child dies either before, during or shortly after birth, how can anyone make their brain get to grips with this. 

They can find themselves plunged into a world of uncertainty.

Without proper coordinated bereavement support families will struggle to try and deal with even everyday things like cooking a meal. 
No one should go through grief and bereavement alone and this is where our charity came into being.

We want to see that every family receives the support and help to deal with their bereavement/loss. 

Ideally this would and should be provided by the local services such as the hospital, Gp surgery, midwives, health visitors and bereavement counsellors. 
However we know we do not live in an ideal world and lots of families are falling through the cracks and being forgotten by the services that are supposed to be there to help in times of crisis.

We now support many families as they try to find a way to cope with the situation they have found themselves in. Many of them tell us that like us they have been overlooked by the professionals.

This frustrates us as we dared to hope that things were starting to get better. 

There have been some improvements made to help families but it is still not enough and can often be determined by where you live in the country.

If you or someone you know has been affected by the loss of a baby or child and feel that they have not been given the support they need please get in touch with us.

We are always here to help you. 

If you feel as strongly as we do that bereavement support across the country should be improved to ensure that every family gets the help they need please go along and sign our petition on

Head to our website,,to find lots of other ways you can help families, or if you have suffered a loss there is lots of information and help for you.

Over the last couple of years the TV soaps have helped in making the subject of baby/child loss more acceptable to talk about.
This can only be a good thing for families. 

Let's hope that programmes continue to highlight this topic and look at the level of support that is currently out there, helping us get the conversations going on what support NEEDS to be out there for all families.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

We have all felt that 2017 was going to be a really positive year for the charity, and although we are only in February it is proving us right.

This makes us really excited for what is to come in the rest of the year. It also makes us a little nervous about how busy we will become but we know we will tackle what ever is in front of us.

At present we are busy on our quest to get as many counsellors on board across the country to help us provide bereaved parents and families with the support they need.

We have put out an advert on a counselling newsletter that is distributed all over the United Kingdom. 

So far this week we have had two new counsellors get in touch with us having seen the advert. 

It feels like a huge step forward for us to have these counsellors wanting to volunteer for us. 

What makes it extra special is that they are from cities outside West Yorkshire, which means that our charity is becoming more widely known about. 

We have had an enquiry from Leicester and from the Gatwick area. As the weeks go on we are hoping that we will get more and more enquiries from other areas of the country. 

When we started the charity it was our dream that one day we would have counsellors all across the country working for Charlies Angel Centre but now it is actually starting to happen it feels absolutely amazing.

To know that we can now start to help so many more families makes us feel very proud of the work we have done. 

If you are a counsellor reading this or know someone who works as a counsellor please consider volunteering for us. Just drop us a line to find out more about us and see if we are a cause you feel you can support.

As things continue to grow and get more and more positive for us we will keep you up to date with all the details. 

We want you to keep with us as we develop as a charity and as a team. 

None of the things that have happened could have happened without our supporters, you are so special to us and you keep us motivated and determined.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Today I was interviewed by a young journalist who is interested in getting Charlie's story out to as many people as possible. 
He feels that our story has such a powerful message for today's society.

Most newspapers and magazines always seem to have stories of terrible atrocities going on around the world or mad business men running a country. However he felt that our story, although it is a very sad story, shows the positive side of human nature.

Until someone says that to you you don't see your life as being like that. 

Talking to him and giving the history of our charity it suddenly hits you that what we have achieved is actually pretty impressive.

He asked me to describe in 3 words how Carrie has been through the last 4 years. 
There were lots of words going through my head but eventually I came up with the 3 that I feel sums Carrie up throughout her pregnancy and the 4 years following. 

Amazing Inspirational Woman.

When Carrie became pregnant she was a young 19 year old doing things that young adults do.
Very quickly though she had to become much more grown up and had to deal with situations that were beyond her young years.

She did this with great courage, strength and determination.

Watching Carrie go through everything she did was difficult and all of us wanted to be able to take this pain and heartbreak away from her. It is a natural instinct to protect your family but quickly we were thrown into a world where we couldn't protect her from what was happening.

Carrie grew into this new role very quickly and shocked us with her level of maturity. 
She didn't just crumble or shy away she went home and researched Charlie's condition and what she could do to give him every chance she could.
I'm not saying that there weren't times when she felt low and desperate for things to be different but she didn't just sit back, she fought for Charlie. 
She made sure she rested when she could, she ate healthier foods and she nurtured that little boy that was growing inside.

If love could have saved Charlie then the love he got from his mummy would have certainly kept him here with us.

After Charlie's birth and death Carrie again amazed us all with her strength. 

Most people would have probably just tried to get their life back in order and try to function from day to day. 

Carrie didn't do this. 

She came up with this idea that we could help other people going through the loss of a baby or child. 
She wanted there to be a system where no other family should go through the lack of support she did when she left hospital.
Regardless of the fact that she was just 19 or the fact that none of us knew how to start a charity, she was not put off.

We have struggled along the way and we have felt like we have taken on more than we can deal with but whenever we have felt like giving in we just think of Charlie and Carrie and it renews our determination to keep going.

Through the last 4 years we have been privileged to meet some truly amazing people. 
You always hear in the press the negatives about the world and how everyone is just out for themselves. 
We can honestly say that we have come across some great supportive and generous people, who wanted to help us just because they could. They didn't want anything in return they just felt that our cause was something they wanted to get behind.

Now 4 years on we are getting people saying how we inspire them to make a difference. 

We know there is still a long way to go before every bereaved family gets the support they need and deserve but we have learned that we are a very stubborn family and will never give up. 
We are not frightened of getting into disagreements with people who make the decisions about the care provided and will continue to push until things are changed.

If our story can inspire others to get out there and help others going through a difficult time then we have achieved a lot. 

Charlie may have only been with us for 19 minutes but his legacy will go on for years and millions of people will know about this special little boy. 
He will change the face of bereavement support and his name will become linked with coordinated packages of bereavement support forever.