Winston's Wish Sunrise Walk
PUBLISHED: 17:03 29 November 2010 | UPDATED: 16:18 20 February 2013
The first ever Winston's Wish Sunrise Walk took place this autumn to help raise funds for the charity for bereaved children. Jonathan Keeble spoke to one of the families who took part to discover a truly inspirational story...
WHEN Sally Hurst crossed the finish line with her children Connor and Rebecca, she had one overriding feeling. "I was just so proud of them," she says. "They both wanted to make sure other kids got the same help they'd had. Taking part in the walk to raise some money was a great start."
The 10-mile Sunrise Walk along the coast from Littlehampton to Lancing was organised by the child bereavement charity, Winston's Wish. Like many people, Sally had never heard of it - until her world was turned upside down in Christmas 2007 when her husband Roger lost his battle with cancer.
"The children were 12 and 10 and it was just the worst time for all of us," she explains. "We were all in a real mess. I thought I was ruining everything for the children. Our world fell apart and I didn't know whether it was day or night. But the world keeps turning and somehow you have to try and survive.
So Sally, who lives on the Sussex/Surrey border, contacted the charity after a recommendation and was sent lots of resources and literature. The whole family later met with one of the charity's counsellors.
"I was broken and yet I had to try and fix the children," she adds. "All sorts of questions go through your head: what should we be doing or saying? Should I let them cry? But you just don't know."
The charity helps hundreds of bereaved and grieving families each year, providing help through counselling, literature and also residential weekends - one of which Connor and Rebecca attended.
"They got to spend time with other children who'd been through the same," explains Sally. "They didn't feel like they had to explain the whole time. Let's face it; most of the kids at school haven't lost someone. They can talk about the feelings they have and work through them. They were able to build positive memories of their dad rather than be scared of the negative.
"One of the biggest fears you have when you lose someone is that you'll forget them. Winston's Wish helped us find a way to safely remember Roger."
Sally and her children joined around a 60 or so others for the 6am start on Littlehampton seafront last month - each determined to raise as much money as possible. It was the first walk of its kind from the charity in West Sussex.
"We want anyone who finds themselves in that situation to be able to receive the help and support that we did," adds Sally. "I have no idea how we would have survived without the help of Winston's Wish."