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Bereaved Havering kids express feelings through art

Ellie Garrett Ellie Garrett

Wednesday, February 27, 2013
2:17 PM

Children who have lost a loved one have been busy creating artwork at Fireworks and Feelings day organised by St Francis Hospice.

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The Stoddart familyThe Stoddart family

Twenty youngsters, aged between three and 16, soon had the hospice education centre, in Havering-atte-Bower, bursting with colour on February 23.

They created paintings, drawings, decorated picture frames and plates to remember the person they had lost.

Hospice children and families social worker Dee Gardner said: “Art can help children cope with bereavement as it can help them express their feelings or thoughts, which they may find difficult talking about.”

Some of the parents and grandparents stayed for a separate session where they could make memory jars and boxes, decorate cups and bags, and talk to each other or hospice staff.

Matthew LeeperMatthew Leeper

Both groups are being supported by the hospice’s family support service and have experienced the death of a spouse, parent or grandparent from a life-limiting illness.

Among the youngsters were brothers Robert and Matthew Leeper, from Romford, whose dad Paul had been supported by the charity before he sadly died.

Ellie Garrett, 8, from Gidea Park, was remembering her granny Gwyneth Franksen, who sadly passed away in December 2010.

Ellie’s mum, Megan, who decorated a shopping bag and made a sand memory jar during the adult session, said: “We both had a great day and benefited from meeting other people who had lost someone close to them, particularly Ellie as none of her friends have been through a similar experience.”

Holly and Amy Thomas with Dee GardnerHolly and Amy Thomas with Dee Gardner

Hospice children and families social worker Dee Gardner said: “Art can help children cope with bereavement as it can help them express their feelings or thoughts, which they may find difficult talking about.”

Dee supports around 100 children who have lost someone close to them each year.

Her role is made possible thanks to funding from Children in Need as well as donations from supporters and other organisations.

The art day was supported by funding and volunteers from the Havering branch of The National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies.

For more information on the hospice go to www.sfh.org.uk or call 01708 753319.

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