Thousands of children in Gloucestershire will celebrate Father’s Day tomorrow - but for a few who have lost a loved one, it can be a solemn occasion.
Amelia Taylor, 17, lost her father Mark in a microlight crash in April 2009. Together with friend Rex Anthony John Paddock, the aircraft they had been travelling in crashed as it attempted to land at Shobdon airfield in Herefordshire.
Mr Taylor, from Coleford, left behind his wife Annie, Amelia and her brother William.
Amelia is one of those bereavement charity Winston’s Wish is supporting who have lost their dads.
Father’s Day is a tough time for them, as young people are faced with reminders of their loss in shop windows and even in school.
Following Mr Taylor’s accident, a practitioner from Winston’s Wish visited the family at their Forest of Dean home. Amelia was also invited to attend a residential weekend where she met other children in a similar situation to her. She started to find talking about her dad easier.
The Coleford teenager said: “I have gained so much from the support given by Winston’s Wish.
“I suffered from severe anxiety after dad’s accident and used to worry about everyone I loved, thinking something bad was going to happen to them.
“Winston’s Wish gave me strategies to help manage these feelings.
“They have helped me realise that anyone can lose a parent, at any age, and that I’m not the only person going through this.”
The charity encourages families to keep memories of their dad alive with activities that the whole family can engage in, such as making memory boxes, listening to dad’s favourite music or having his favourite meal on Father’s Day.
Gianna Daly, head of clinical services at Winston’s Wish, said: “We know that on occasions like Father’s Day, bereaved young people can feel particularly isolated.
“They often tell us that their friends stop talking about the person who has died, and that teachers no longer ask how they’re doing as time passes.
“Very often these young people want to keep walking about that person, especially on Father’s Day itself, but to do so they need help and support.
“The death of a parent or sibling is one of the most fundamental losses a child will ever face.
“If childhood grief is not dealt with appropriately, it can have a lasting effect on the child’s emotional well-being and lead to a variety of short and long term problems.
“The right support at the right time can enable bereaved young people to live with their grief and build positive futures.”
To speak to a qualified clinical practitioner at Winston’s Wish, call the charity at 08452 030405.