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Help is at hand for bereaved children

OPEN FOR BUSINESS ... support workers Evelyn Mitchell, left, and Sue Clarke, right, with youngsters and fundraisers at the opening of the new Cruse Bereavement Care Tyneside facility for children at Cleadon Park Primary Care Centre in South Shields.
OPEN FOR BUSINESS ... support workers Evelyn Mitchell, left, and Sue Clarke, right, with youngsters and fundraisers at the opening of the new Cruse Bereavement Care Tyneside facility for children at Cleadon Park Primary Care Centre in South Shields.

A NEW service to help bereaved youngsters in South Tyneside is up and running, thanks to fundraising efforts by determined families.

The Cruse Crew was launched in August last year with the aim of raising £30,000 in 12 months to enable charity Cruse Bereavement Care Tyneside to bring a children and young people’s support service to the borough.

We are absolutely delighted that we can now deliver our support service to bereaved children and young people at premises within South Tyneside.

Evelyn Mitchell, Cruse Bereavement Care Tyneside

The fundraising mission was kicked off after parents Davy Carr and Emma Robertson both struggled to find support for their young children following the deaths of their respective partners.

They both eventually found support from Cruse Bereavement Care Tyneside but had to travel to Newcastle to access it.

But within six months, thanks to the generosity of South Tyneside residents and businesses, the 15-strong group, made up of families who know first hand the impact losing a loved one can have on children, had raised £32,000.

The team, were invited to Cleadon Park Primary Care Centre in South Shields to see where the new service is based – just eight months after they launched their fundraising drive.

A spokesman said: “It still doesn’t seem real that, just eight months ago, we were handed our first donation of £50, and now here we are seeing the service we know was desperately needed in South Tyneside up and running.

“When we launched, we gave ourselves 12 months to raise the money, but to do it in half the time is unbelievable, and I think it’s not only a testament to the hard work and determination of the members of the Cruse Crew, but also to the generosity and kindness of the people of South Tyneside and those from Wardley, where Davy Carr is originally from.

“Without them, this wouldn’t have been possible.

“For the families who had their loved ones in their hearts while doing this, it has been quite an emotional journey, but they should all be proud of what they have achieved in their memories.”

As well as Davy and Emma, the Cruse Crew includes parents Laura Nisbet, whose father to her children Karl Carson, 26, died in July; Jean Costello, whose son Stephen Heslop, 22, died on Boxing Day 2007; Alfie Leggett and Susan Clarkson, whose son Jack, nine, died of a brain tumour two days before Christmas 2013; and Graham Muirhead, whose partner Stacey McCormack, 32, died in May last year.

They are being supported by friends Joyce Auty, Alana Vickers, Rachel Little, Paul and Mandy Kirton, and former mayor and mayoress of South Tyneside Coun Ernest Gibson and Patricia Ridley.

Evelyn Mitchell, a Cruse Bereavement Care Tyneside management committee member, said: “We are absolutely delighted that we can now deliver our support service to bereaved children and young people at premises within South Tyneside. It means families and young people can now access the service much more easily.

“Huge thanks to the Cruse Crew for their tremendous fundraising efforts, which have guaranteed the service here for at least the next three years.

“When we are bereaved, we are often sad and vulnerable and troubled.

“It is a mark of a great community that the people of South Tyneside have rallied round to provide this support.”

Cruse Bereavement Care Tyneside now offers support to adults, children and young people within South Tyneside. Until recently, it was only the adult service that was offered in the borough.

For more information, contact Cruse Bereavement Care Tyneside on 276 5533.

Twitter: @shieldsgazette