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Bereavement Support Group honours Hospice with donation

Middleton & Heywood Bereavement Support Group honours Hospice with donation.

Springhill Hospice opened its doors to welcome the familiar face of Norman Wellens, from the now disbanded Middleton and Heywood Bereavement Support Group.  The former Man of Rochdale and his colleagues visited the hospice to meet with Chief Executive Julie Halliwell for an insightful and thought provoking discussion about bereavement support and to present her with a cheque.

The name Wellens is familiar throughout Middleton, Heywood and Rochdale, the family run undertakers having been established in 1870. After speaking of the years he and his brother Geoffrey spent leading the well-respected organisation, Norman went on to the purpose of his visit, to make a donation to Springhill Hospice on behalf of the now disbanded Middleton & Heywood Bereavement Support Group, in his capacity as the group's founder.

"I wasn't familiar with the group Norman spoke of," explains Julie Halliwell "but it was very interesting to hear all about them, from their inception to conclusion.  The group’s ethos and objectives are inspiring".

Norman went on to explain;  "The job of a Funeral Director is akin to that of a counsellor.  First and foremost you have to be a good listener.  You must know when to talk and more importantly when not to talk.  My day to day contact with bereavement led me to realise that there was a need for bereavement support in the area so in 1988, I started our befriending group.  Staffed and run by a small committee of volunteer professional counsellors, the service grew rapidly.  Our work spanned and embraced all cultures, ages and bereavement circumstances, from someone coping with the death of a parent to the emotional trauma arising from a loved one dying in a road traffic accident" 

"Unfortunately, after 30 years wonderful years of fun, fellowship, friendship and caring and most importantly being able to help thousands of people come to terms with their grief, we have had to disband the group.  Age and ever changing commitments are not on the side of the counsellors.  There is still a need for a service in this community, one that hopefully Springhill's counselling  team can go some way to fulfilling"

The Middleton and Heywood Bereavement service were a not-for-profit organisation, funded by various organisations including the National Lottery, church organisations and pertinently, Rochdale Health Authority.  The purpose of Norman's visit to Springhill was to honour the Hospice by donating £1739.53, made up of the residual funds present after the group closed.

"It seemed appropriate that Springhill should received what remained of our funding' said Norman, adding "by donating the money to the Hospice it ensures it goes back to where it came from and will go a long way to help people from many areas and many walks of life".

Speaking of the bereavement group Julie Halliwell said "To have managed a service like this, completely voluntarily is an achievement in itself, for that we applaud the entire group.  The whole community is indebted to Norman  and the groups co-founders, Marie Douglas, Pat Jones, Audrey Johnson, Diane MacLeod and the late Elizabeth Cotton,  for providing invaluable care for people who are at their lowest ebb.  For this we thank them. Thanks too goes to the retiring committee for their generosity, for the Hospice to benefit from their gift is wonderful and means a great deal".

For those affected by bereavement Springhill Hospice offers a counselling service, open to all adults via their GPs (through doctor's referral).  Springhill's Counselling team also run bereavement groups in locations throughout the Borough, giving everyone who is in need of bereavement support the chance to meet with empathetic groups and make friends in a group environment.  For more information contact: The Counselling Team 01706 649920 or see the website www.­springhill.­org.­uk/­bereavement-counselling-and-support-service