Bereaved children have party fun

BEREAVED children, many of them spending their first Christmas without a loved one, had a holiday season to remember thanks to kindhearted volunteers and donors.

More than two dozen children marked the festive period at the Forget Me Not party in Upminster Methodist Church. They were joined by Frankie Sandford, from girl group The Saturdays, and an Ali G impersonator.

But the gathering, which was the first of its kind staged by the fledgling Children’s Bereavement Service, could be the last unless it gets more help in the form of donations.

Lizzie Allen, of the Havering and Brentwood Bereavement Service (HBBS), said: “For the many of the children it’s their first Christmas after losing a sibling or a parent. We wanted them to meet children in the same situation because often they can be a bit isolated.”

The youngsters held a special outdoor ceremony for all of the dearly departed but found time to enjoy plenty of fun and games along with a visit from Father Christmas.

They were also given a training day with West Ham United players, which will take place next year.

Lizzie said: “Ali G was great and Frankie was really lovely. She was great with kids. She was supposed go Christmas shopping with her mate but stayed for three hours.”

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Charity director Alison Bean said: “We just wanted to acknowledge that it’s going to be a really difficult Christmas for them and wanted give them a good time as well.

“It went really well but if we are going to do it next year we’re really going to need more help with fundraising and would urge people to support this precious service.”

HBBS does not get funding from Havering Council or the Primary Care Trust and survives on donations and fundraising events.

To find out more or get involved contact Lizzie on 01708 476912 or visit the website at