Professor Lord Winston
"I was nine years old when my father died, and my brother was only four. Whilst making a 'Child of Our Time' I have also witnessed the impact of challenging deaths like suicide which often leave young children bewildered and confused with parents who need support to stabilise family life.
Winston's Wish has developed a fantastic range of services which help bereaved children grow in confidence by meeting others in a similar situation. They help children build memories so that meaningful and important relationships remain safe. This is crucial for their self-identity, especially during often turbulent teenage years. From this secure base a child can grow into an adult who has a resilient life story.
As a keen observer of human behaviour and family life I absolutely believe that it is not so much what happens to us in life but our attitude and response to such challenges that makes all the difference. Winston's Wish is there for families when they feel most isolated - it turns vulnerability into hope and helps children to understand that there is life after a death in the family. A profoundly important lesson that everyone needs to learn but sadly for 20,000 newly bereaved children each year this hard lesson happens in their childhood.
I am delighted to be a Patron of this truly wonderful organisation and know that with your support Winston's Wish will grow and develop in order to help even more bereaved children on their journey through grief"
Baroness Fritchie, DBE (known as Rennie Fritchie) was born in Fife, Scotland.
Educated at Ribston Hall Grammar School for Girls in Gloucester, she has had a long career specialising in training and development. Now described as a 'portfolio' worker, Lady Fritchie holds various positions in addition to that of United Kingdom Commissioner for Public Appointments, including President of the Pennell Initiative for Women’s Health in Later Life.
In the 1970s, she was one of the first full-time women’s training advisers and pioneered the training of staff in the then new Equal Opportunities Commission. Using a German Marshall Fellowship awarded in 1985, she drew lessons from the United States of America for the United Kingdom for programmes to improve the status of women. She has published extensively on these topics and contributes regularly on them to programmes on television and radio.
Becoming Commissioner for Public Appointments in 1999, renewed in 2002 and extended in 2005, neither diminished Baroness Fritchie’s professional life nor deflected her from helping others. She holds an honorary Professorship in Creative Leadership at York University and is Pro-Chancellor at Southampton University, a Civil Service Commissioner and Vice-Chair of the Stroud and Swindon Building Society.
Active in a number of charities, including a Patron of Winston’s Wish - the leading childhood bereavement charity in the UK, Rennie Fritchie has been awarded honorary degrees by a number of academic institutions.
Rennie Fritchie became a dame in 1996. In 2005 she was made a life peer as Baroness Fritchie, of Gloucester in the County of Gloucestershire, and she sits as a crossbencher in the House of Lords.
Julie Stokes OBE, Founder Patron
As Winston’s Wish celebrates twenty years of service, it is timely that the Founder’s contribution is recognised and honoured, not only to the communities that are served nationally, but also to the childhood bereavement sector. Julie Stokes has accepted the honorary position with Winston’s Wish as Founder Patron in recognition of her continued commitment to the charity and the wellbeing of bereaved children.
Born in 1961 and educated at St. Michael’s Convent Grammar School in London, Julie received a 1st class honours degree in Psychology and in 1987 went on to receive a Masters in Clinical Psychology .
Julie started her career with the NHS in 1984 and was instrumental in establishing one of the first hospital-based teams focusing on palliative care. Julie was working with families’ at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and was interested at how hard it seemed to involve children before and after a parent’s death
This desire to involve children and support parents led Julie to apply to the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. In 1992 she was awarded a Fellowship and travelled to America and Canada to better understand the services provided in these countries for bereaved children.
On her return, and inspired by what she had experienced, Julie set out to build a pioneering approach here in the UK. In September 1992 Julie founded Winston’s Wish. After just 3 years the grief support programme was well established and Julie won the BT/Childline award ‘for providing outstanding services to children’
Drawing on her years of experience, Julie continues to lecture both nationally and internationally and is the author of many books including ‘Then, Now & Always’ – supporting children as they journey through grief: a guide for practitioners. She has contributed to 11 documentaries including the ground breaking Mummy Diaries series in 2007.
As part of The Queens 80th Birthday Honours in December 2006, Julie received an OBE for services to children and families. She is currently Vice Chair of The Childhood Bereavement Network.
Julie now works as an Executive Coach.
Julie said “I am delighted to be offered the role of Founder Patron and will continue to smile each and every time I hear of children – many now adults in their 30s – who have stories of resilience that inspire us to grow the services offered in the next 20 years…”
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