Benedict smiling - Winston's Wish

Benedict’s story: “It is hard to ask for help, but taking that plunge makes everything that bit easier to process”

Benedict received bereavement support from Winston’s Wish in 2015 after his dad took his own life when Benedict was three. The one-to-one support from a practitioner and the groups with other bereaved children, helped him to understand what had happened. 10 years later, Benedict volunteered for Winston’s Wish to give back and help us to support more children like him. To help us mark our 30th birthday, Benedict is sharing his story:

My journey with Winston’s Wish started in 2005. I was supported in 2005 as a result of my father taking his own life when I was three years old. Ed was the fantastic practitioner who came out and provided support to me and my brother. That was a really beneficial thing to do because for a child it can be difficult to process such a life changing event.

With Ed, I was able to have multiple sessions where we were able to make memory boxes through which I could remember my father. Ed also brought the book Muddles, Puddles and Sunshine to our sessions which was invaluable as it was another way through which an understanding of what happened could be gained.

I also remember going on one of the weekends with other children who had experienced a similar event in their lives, as well as activity days in Cheltenham. These were really great things to attend as I could see other people and speak to them about what had happened. Going to such events enabled me to realise that there are always other people who have gone through similar things.

I cannot remember much about my father’s death itself, but remember more about the support I received. Due to being such a young age when he passed away, I feel it’s easier to manage how I feel and feel it’s easier for me to move on with my life. I’ve still had the questions like “this happened to me, why did it happen?”, but I tend to not dwell on the past and focus on making the best future for myself, working hard to achieve that.

I’ve tried to use the experience of losing my father as a positive. I’ve not let it define me in a negative light, but instead have concentrated on making something of my life. I will always work hard to give myself the best life that I can, and focus on being happy so that I can enjoy the life that I live. My approach to life can be summarised in a glass half full type of mindset.

I’ve personally not felt lonely after experiencing this bereavement, but through my involvement with Winston’s Wish gained an understanding about loss and bereavement for children.

After experiencing the loss of my father, I always try and have a positive impact on others because to go through such an event can be very difficult, affecting people in different ways. Endeavouring to work this way is influenced by my positive mindset, as I want to try and make it easier for people who experience such events in their lives, effectively trying to make the world a better place.

As I got older, when it was time to choose my Year 12 work experience, I decided to give back to the work of Winston’s Wish. I started coming into the office, on a weekly basis, in 2015 and stayed for just over four years as a volunteer.

In my time at Winston’s Wish, I got to work in all areas of the office – doing trusts and grants work, assisting all departments, writing applications using templated letters, and researching other charities and organisations for Winston’s Wish to approach for a grant or donation. Every month I was given a list of newly formed charities that might be willing to assist with a grant or donation, with one of my tasks being to research those organisations that aligned with the mission of Winston’s Wish. One of the best results I managed to get was a donation of £6,500 which enabled Winston’s Wish to provide a lot of support.

I loved working there. The team was fab! There were always cake(s) or biscuits at the end of the desk which is always nice. It was a cohesive team atmosphere, with everyone getting on very well. When you come in and naturally get along with your colleagues, it naturally enthuses you to do the work, with the work I was doing being very interesting.

Benedict with other Winston's Wish volunteers and staff accepting a cheque - Winston's Wish

Working within Winston’s Wish was such a beneficial thing to do, not only because it benefitted my personal skillset, but also for having that rewarding feeling for giving back and helping to increase the awareness of the work Winston’s Wish does. This ultimately enables more bereaved children and families to be supported. I’ve received fantastic support myself, but giving back to Winston’s Wish is the best feeling because supporting bereaved children is such an important job.

The biggest thing I would say to children and young people who are experiencing bereavement now, or have experienced it, is that you are not alone. There is always going to be someone out there who has or is going through something similar. Reaching out to such people is so important as it really does help.

I have seen over the years how speaking to others in such a situation has helped. It is hard to ask for help, but taking that plunge makes everything that bit easier to process. It is never a sign of weakness – I see it as a sign of strength. Try and be positive – no matter what you have gone through, you can still make something of your life.

After receiving the support I did in 2005, and then volunteering from 2015 to 2019, I got to see the amount of hard work and dedication that goes into supporting bereaved children and families. By speaking to the people that worked for Winston’s Wish, I could see how committed and passionate they were in the work they did.

The mission of the charity is very close to me and seeing all the marvellous work Winston’s Wish does just shows how valuable the support to bereaved children and families is.

Where to get support

If you are a bereaved young person or you are supporting a child or young person (aged 0-25) who is struggling with their grief, please call our Freephone Helpline team on 08088 020 021 or email We can provide advice, support and resources.

If you need urgent support, the Winston’s Wish Crisis Messenger is available 24/7 for free, confidential support in a crisis. Text WW to 85258.

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Winston’s Wish provides bereavement support to grieving children, young people (up to 25) and their families, along with online resources and training for professionals.