A TWYFORD-based charity is celebrating 21 years of supporting bereaved children and their families.
Daisy’s Dream was set up in 1996 by local resident Penny Lowe following the unexpected death of her husband Jerry, who was just 45-years-old. The couple had a four-year-old son, and Penny was expecting their daughter when her husband suddenly died of a heart attack.
Penny was shocked at the lack of support on offer for young families dealing with the impact of such a devastating loss, so decided to set up the charity, which she named after the family’s dog, Daisy.
Penny set about fundraising and recruiting volunteers, and by October 1997 the charity was able to run its first residential weekend, Camp Daisy.
Penny said: “Having a death in the family can be such a difficult time. Everyone needs space to talk about how they feel – whether that’s angry, sad or confused.
“It can be very powerful to see others going through something similar, and Camp Daisy helped to show families that it was OK to feel the way they do.”
Sara Richardson, who was 13 when her father died suddenly in 1999, attended a Camp Daisy weekend and found the experience helped her process her feelings and to understand her grief.
She said: “It was incredibly important at the time in terms of talking about my Dad and acknowledging the grief.
“I remember making a sculp-ture out of clay and throwing it at a wall before it had set to help deal with the anger and grief that we felt. With their help my family were able to create good memories at a time that was otherwise extremely sad.”
The charity has now evolved into one of the country’s leading bereavement support services, providing free, professional one-to-one support for more than 700 children each year across Berkshire.
In 2012, the charity’s work was recognised with a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The charity’s director, Gill Stevens said: “We know we have been able to make a profound difference to the lives of children in Berkshire at the most difficult and traumatic of times, but we are also acutely aware of those children who we are not yet in a position to help; children who live in areas close to Berkshire who are sadly not able to access the support they need.
“Our goal over the charity’s history has remained the same – to meet the needs of children and families in a timely, flexible and responsive way.
“As we look to the future we are confident that, with the magnificent ongoing help and support of our local communities, we can expand our service to meet the needs of other children and families who are struggling to cope with the impact of serious illness and bereavement.”
- To celebrate its milestone year, the charity is planning a spectacular fundraising celebration on Saturday, October 7. Their Imagination Ball will be held at Phyllis Court Members Club, in Henley-on-Thames. Tickets cost £85. For details, visit www.daisysdream.org.uk/imagination-ball