BY TOBY PORTER
A charity which supports bereaved families opened its first pop-up cafe to begin a project which will expand nationwide in the coming months.
It began its work days after its founder, TV host and former Grange Hill star Linda Magistris, from Wandsworth, was honoured by the Prime Minister for her work for grieving people.
The organisation she helped found, the Good Grief Trust opened its hub at King’s College Hospital, Cicely Saunders Institute in Bessemer Road, Camberwell on September 15.
Speakers included The Good Grief Trust’s patron, Fiona Murphy, who talked about her pioneering work in bereavement care.
Bafta-winning author Kevin Toolis told about of his father’s death and how the Irish celebrate life and deal with loss.
Local, regional and national bereavement support organisations also outlined their work.
Linda, pictured, created The Good Grief Trust two years ago after losing her partner Graham Theakston to cancer in September 2014, when she realised the lack of a central system of support across the UK for anyone who suffers a bereavement, whether that is a child, partner, parent, sibling or friend.
It launched a new Good Grief card, to be provided by every frontline organisation in the country, to signpost the bereaved to their new central online database of support.
Linda and The Good Grief Trust are now set to launch new Good Grief Pop Up Cafes across the country.
The Department for Culture last month announced the Prime Minister is awarding Linda a Points of Light award in honour of her work establishing the trust – the honour is in its third year of recognising outstanding individual volunteers.
Prime Minister Theresa May said: “From a devastating personal tragedy you have created a tremendous force for good.
The Good Grief Trust is providing vital resources for people experiencing bereavement, offering comfort, practical support and the knowledge that they are not alone.”
Linda said: “I am absolutely thrilled to receive this award. It is a huge honour to be recognised and to have my work supported by the Prime Minister and 10 Downing Street.
“Grieving the death of someone you love is the most painful thing anyone can go through in their lives and I am driven to raise awareness of the need to acknowledge and understand the impact that grief has on our mental and physical health.
I am passionate that we find those who need help and bring them together with others who can support them, sharing our stories of loss with peers and creating new support networks across the country.
“Grief can be an incredibly isolating experience and my vision is that we normalise feelings of loss and offer help and hope in one place so those who are bereaved can find new happiness and a way forward with their lives.”
See www.thegoodgrieftrust.org for more information on the charity.