When Vera Skellett’s husband Eric died from cancer, she felt lost until a member of the St Giles team encouraged her to visit her local Bereavement Help Point. The couple had been married for 25 years after meeting on a blind date and they hit it off on day one.

Vera said: “Eric was the most loving and caring man you could meet and was marvellous with my three daughters. We had so many happy memories together and I was so lucky to have him in my life. When he died it left a huge hole and I really didn’t know what I was going to do.”

Eric spent his last few weeks at St Giles. During this time the team suggested to Vera that she might like to go along to the Lichfield Bereavement Help Point, which is open to anyone to drop in.

“It was really hard at first but the difficult part wasn’t walking into the room, it was leaving at the end because I felt so safe and supported at the Help Point. When I left I had to go back into the big world and back into this big bubble of grief. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without the group and I can’t praise them enough, they are just so kind and caring.”

Nearly three years on, Vera is now an active member of the group, organising get-togethers and meals out and continuing to benefit from the support that the help provides to the community.

“We joke that the group is like a magnet because we are all drawn together and we can sit and laugh or cry together – we could be the happiest sad people in the world.”

“It’s been a brilliant support for me and now when a new person comes in, I offer them a cup of tea and a warm welcome.”

With the support of wonderful volunteers like Vera,Bereavement Help Points can be found in eight towns across the St Giles catchment area and are open to anyone who is grieving. The Help Points are there for as long as you need them, whether it’s for just a couple of sessions or on a longer term basis.

Trained volunteers are on hand to welcome and support people with advice, information and signposting or just a listening ear.

Find out more at www.stgileshospice.com/bereavement-help-points or call 01543 432031.