Caroline Drysdale, Service Director for Oldham Community Services, has completed the Wilmslow half marathon in support of Winston’s Wish, the leading childhood bereavement charity in the UK.

Caroline took on the challenge for Winston’s Wish following her own personal experience of bereavement. In October 2012, her daughter lost her father to suicide. She explained:

“No one ever thinks they will be affected by suicide until it happens to them. It was shocking and painful and resulted in my daughter losing her Dad. I am so proud of my daughter, but not a day goes by where we are not affected by what has happened; sometimes anger or sadness, sometimes laughter. All she has left is memories”.

In the UK, someone takes their own life on average every 80 minutes; equating to approximately 6,000 suicides a year (Samaritans). The North West has a suicide rate higher than the national average and sadly this is a growing statistic. (Child Bereavement Network*).

Winston’s Wish last year set up drop-in bereavement support sessions in Wigan and Leigh, providing a welcoming and relaxed environment for parents/carers, young people and professionals in need of information and advice on bereavement, including specialist support for suicide bereavement.

Caroline recognises the importance of the work of Winston’s Wish and champions their impact in the North West:

“Over two years on, I want to give a little back by supporting children, young people and their families who are affected by the sudden death of a parent or sibling. With the support of National Lottery funding, Winston’s Wish is expanding their services to support children and families in Greater Manchester. I want to help the growth of local bereavement services for children, young people and their families in the area.

The work they do is so important, as the impact of bereavement upon the emotional and psychological wellbeing of children is profound – especially as a result of suicide”.

Caroline has enjoyed running for over 10 years but the half marathon marked her furthest distance to date. Upon completing the half marathon, Caroline has so far raised a total of £1,254.

Clare Richards, Fundraiser for Winston’s Wish in the North West, commented:

“We’re hugely grateful to Caroline for running the half marathon for Winston’s Wish. It’s a mammoth effort and the fantastic amount raised allows us to continue working with bereaved children and families, providing vital support when they need it most. Thank you Caroline!”

The Winston’s Wish drop-ins for the North West region run weekly in Wigan and Leigh:

Tuesday Drop-in sessions are held every Tuesday from 11am-1pm at Compassion in Action, Patrick House, 58 Leigh Rd, Leigh, WN7 1QR.

Wednesday Drop-in sessions are held every Wednesday from 3.30-5.30pm at Sunshine House, Wellington Street, Wigan, WN1 3SA.