Friendship after loss
A group of people who lost loved-ones around the same time in 2012 are still meeting up five years after forging strong friendships
The 11-strong group, aged from their 40s to their 80s, met through attending coffee mornings and counselling, carers’ and art therapy groups, at Weldmar Hospicecare.
They include three mother and daughter pairs, but just one man – Chris Bagley – which leads to some occasional ribbing.
“There was a bloke in one of the pubs we went to who asked what my secret was,” he joked. “The group just evolved, we just gelled together”.
Angela Strudwick from Chideock said “We spend a lot of time cuddling each other and eating cake. These days we go to all sorts of places, we’re like a family. It’s like coming home”.
Melanie Gale, who attends with mum Shirley Churchill, said “I really got involved with Weldmar because they supported my two children so well after both of their grandads died”.
Shirley said “Mel lost her father-in-law just three months after her dad died”.
Gabrielle Markes from Dorchester said “I like the informality, the shared experiences and the companionship. We have a laugh”.
Her daughter, Perwina Whitmore, said “Over the years we’ve got very relaxed in each other’s company; we’ve got to know each other well”.
Weldmar Hospicecare is a charity that provides end of life care for people living in Dorset who need specialist support. This care also extends to the family and loved ones of patients, which includes both pre and post-bereavement support such as the support given to this group.
The NHS contributes around 25% of the costs to run Weldmar. Which means the charity has to raise over £10,000 per day in order to provide its outstanding services across Dorset.
Back row, L to R: Shirley, Angela, Mel, Pearl, Chris, Pauline and Gina.
Front row, L to R: Gabrielle, Perwina, Margaret.