Families who were brought together by tragedy and raised £30,000 to bring a children’s bereavement support service to South Tyneside have now branched out on their own.
The Cruse Crew was formed last August to raise the funds needed to enable Cruse Bereavement Care Tyneside to bring its service to the borough.
The best part is I now have a new family and all the kids are proud to be part of Cruse CrewEmma Robertson
This now means families needing support following the death of a loved one can access vital help on their doorstep rather than travelling to Newcastle.
However, the families decided they wanted to carry on and set about making the Cruse Crew a support group in itself.
Up until July they had been linked to the charity, but they are now a group in their own right supporting children, young people and families coming to terms with a bereavement through activities and social events.
The group, registered as a not-for-profit community interest company, is now based at Chuter Ede Community Centre in Galsworthy Road, South Shields.
The room was officially opened by South Tyneside singer and X-Factor star Lola Saunders and the Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside Coun Richard Porthouse and his wife Patricia.
In the past year, the Cruse Crew has raised more than £35,000 for the charity.
Emma Robertson’s husband Gary died on his 39th birthday in 2012 from a brain aneurysm.
She said: “We never thought when we started, solely to raise money to enable Cruse Bereavement Care Tyneside to bring its service to South Tyneside, that we would end up creating our own support group and network for children, young people and families.
“Since being a part of Cruse Crew, I no longer feel alone and both myself and my three children have gained confidence in everyday life.”
She added: “On behalf of the group I’d like to say a huge thank you to Lola Saunders and the Mayor and Mayoress for helping to make our launch night even more special for our families.”
The Cruse Crew is run by volunteers and relies on fundraising and donations to provide activities for children, young people and families.
Tomorrow night, Westoe Brass Band will be holding its annual Evening of Brass concert at St Hilda’s Church in South Shields in support of Cruse Bereavement Care Tyneside and the Cruse Crew.
In the past 14 years of the event, tens of thousands of pounds have been raised for good causes.
Band chairwoman Lynne Griffiths said: “This is a particularly big event for us this year. We always look forward to this annual concert where we seek to support a worthy cause, and this year’s concert is in aid of Cruse Bereavement Care Tyneside and the Cruse Crew, which is very close to our hearts.
“This is also the first formal concert for our new musical director, Lee Morris.
“Lee took over the baton last month and immediately challenged us by setting an entire new programme of music for this concert.”
Lee commented: “We are confident that we will be performing something for every musical taste.”
If you would like to support the event, tickets are available from St Hilda’s Church or by call the band on 07848 878550. The concert begins at 7pm.
The Cruse Crew can be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org