Bereavement charity's flagship event returns after Covid

two children and an adult smiling at the camera

Three of the attendees at the Remember-me Day - Credit: Stand-by-me

For the first time since the Covid pandemic began two years ago, Hitchin-based charity Stand-by-me has been able to run its flagship annual event for bereaved children. 

Stand-by-me was launched in 2014 to provide support for bereaved children and young people and their families across North Herts and Stevenage. Children are able to take part in group sessions that help them come to terms with their grief.

a child in front of a memorial

Stand-by-me supports children across North Herts & Stevenage - Credit: Stand-by-me

Its yearly Remember-me Day brings together all the children who have attended group sessions, so that they can catch up with each other in a laidback environment. Their families are also invited, as are those who support and volunteer for the charity. 

4 people standing around a table

More than 80 people were at the event - Credit: Stand-by-me

After the event had to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021, more than 80 people attended this year’s gathering at St Christopher School in Letchworth. They enjoyed an afternoon tea, basketball and other games, as well as glitter tattoos and craft activities. 

Before the event ended, everybody present had the opportunity to celebrate the lives of those who had died with a dove release organised by Angel Wings Dove Release. 

8 young people release 3 doves from boxes

Doves were released in memory of loved ones - Credit: Stand-by-me

Sandra Blacker, a trustee and one of the founders of Stand-by-me, said: “It was wonderful for everyone connected to the charity to be able to get together in this way for the first time since 2019.

"Remember-me Day is a very important part of our annual calendar and allows us to keep in touch with the many hundreds of people we’ve supported over the years.” 

two women smiling to the camera with lots of mugs of tea

Volunteers prepared an afternoon tea - Credit: Stand-by-me

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Ian Cotterill, chair of trustees, echoed Sandra’s sentiments: “Remember-me Day is a great event and I’m delighted we were able to run it again this year.

"Everyone was very relaxed and clearly enjoyed the afternoon. I’d like to thank all the people who worked so hard to make it a success and celebrate the vital work done by Stand-by-me.” 

a woman and girl smile through a photo frame

It was the first Remember-me Day to be held since 2019 - Credit: Stand-by-me

One person who was unfortunately unable to attend was Billy Byrne, the charity’s patron and an electrician on the BBC’s ‘DIY SOS’ who hails from Welwyn Garden City.

He passed on a message to attendees: “I am really sorry not to be with you all this afternoon. I hope you have a lovely afternoon and lots of hugs from me.”