THE memory of a former police officer in South Tyneside is to be kept alive with a fundraising venture in aid of a bereavement charity.
Heartbroken Irene Tait held her first event a year after Chris Dew died in 2011 as a lasting legacy to her partner.
Now, four years on, she is preparing to host a curry night at The Mile, just off Mile End Road, in South Shields, for The Cruse Crew.
The group – made up of bereaved families and their friends – is aiming to raise £30,000 to enable Cruse Bereavement Care Tyneside to bring its children and young people’s bereavement support service to South Tyneside.
Currently families needing to access the service have to travel to its base in High Heaton, Newcastle.
The charity already delivers a bereavement support service for adults in South Tyneside.
Mr Dew, a father-of-three, who worked for South Shields CID, died suddenly aged 58, from heart failure on January 14, 2011.
Ms Tait said: “I know first hand what it is like to lose someone close so I can’t imagine what it must be like for children.
“I was told about the group by a colleague as every year we raise funds for different charities and I was asking what charity people thought we should support this year.
“When I was told about what the group was doing and it was going to benefit South Tyneside, I said I would be happy to name them as the beneficiary.
“The events have always been well received so hopefully we will be able to raise quite a bit for the cause.”
The event, taking place on Friday January 23, at The Mile will feature singer Ashley Howe and a raffle.
The Cruse Crew is made up of parents from across South Tyneside whose families have had to cope with the devastating loss of a loved one.
It includes Davy Carr, Alfie Leggett, Susan Clarkson, Laura Nisbet, Emma Robertson, Jean Costello and Graham Muirhead who all know the impact losing a loved one can have on their children.
They are supported by friends Mandy and Paul Kirton, Joyce Auty, Rachel Little, Alana Vickers, former Mayor and Mayoress Coun Ernest Gibson and Patricia Ridley and Lisa Nightingale.
Tickets are available now, priced £10, from The Mile. Anyone who can donate a raffle prize is also asked to contact The Mile on 454 7495.