Winston’s Wish understands that for children and young people coping with life after the death of their father, this weekend can be particularly poignant.

Whilst many families make preparations for celebrating dad’s special day on Sunday, for some families it is an especially difficult time.

Bereaved children and young people are faced with reminders of their loss as shops in every town centre feature Father’s Day, and even school activities can be focus on the occasion.

Some people find it particularly helpful to mark special occasions such as Father’s Day by creating activities to remember and celebrate the person who died.

Winston’s Wish provides 10 ways to remember dads this Father’s Day:

  1. Take a special card to his grave – or to where his ashes were buried or scattered.
  2. Tie your Father’s Day card or a special message to a helium balloon and let it soar into the sky.
  3. Blow some bubbles and send him your love on the wind.
  4. Plant some bulbs or a shrub in a place that holds special memories of your dad – what was his favourite colour?
  5. Have his favourite meal – Risotto? Roast dinner? Curry?
  6. Listen to his favourite music – (however awful his taste was!)
  7. Begin to make a memory box in which to keep things that remind you of him – photos, shells, holiday snaps, glasses, silly tie etc.
  8. Make or buy a new frame for your favourite photograph of him – what was he doing?
  9. Ask your nan or grandad for their memories of dad as a little boy, and/or your mum for her memories of when she and dad met.
  10. Write him a letter or a poem or a song. Maybe you could start with something like ‘If you came back for just 5 minutes, I’d tell you…’

Holly Fritchley, who was supported by Winston’s Wish following the death of her dad in 2004, explained:

“Now at the age of 25, I face the eleventh Father’s Day without my dad. It’s not until events such as birthdays, Christmases or Father’s Day do I really realise what Winston’s Wish have done for me. They helped me remember my dad all year round, but most importantly they help me celebrate the person he was on these hard occasions. I often let a balloon go on birthdays, anniversaries and Father’s Day. I do this because this was one of my favourite things I did on the Winston’s Wish residential weekend back when I was 14. I cannot thank Winston’s Wish enough for supporting me through the hard times and helping me become the person I am today. I can now talk about my dad at ease with a huge smile”.

 Dominic Smith, Senior Practitioner at Winston’s Wish, added:

“On occasions like Father’s Day bereaved young people tell us they can feel particularly isolated. Some report that their friends stop talking about the person who has died, and that some teachers no longer ask how they’re doing as time passes. Families may not know what to do or say to each other approaching occasions like birthdays or Father’s Day. Very often these young people want to keep talking about that person, especially on Father’s Day itself, but to do so they need help and support”.

Memory boxes are particularly helpful on these occasions and are available directly from Winston’s Wish for £15.50. They can be purchased through the website or by calling 01242 515157.