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Smarties nursery open fairy garden in memory of Elsie

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Elsies garden

·         17:30, 17 SEP 2016
BY CHESTER CHRONICLE

Sister and mum who created Elsie Ever After officially open garden
Elsie had attended the nursery before she sadly passed away due to a genetic condition.

Her mother Helen went on to start a charity ‘Elsie Ever After’ to support bereaved families.

Helen was awarded the ‘Point of Light’ by David Cameron who said: “Helen is a true Point of Light, despite suffering her own great personal loss, she has devoted her time to invaluable work that has touched the lives of so many people”.The garden was designed by ‘The Cheshire Garden’ with donations made by Bee-Creative designs and Disco Daisy wood carvings.

The Fun Day was a great success, with a variety of activities available for children to participate in such as singing with Music Meg, Diddi Dance, and Forest school activities.

The total sum raised by donations from parents in aid of Elsie Ever After was a fantastic £1,227.Annie Silcock owner of the nursery said “The day was really memorable and despite the weather many parents came to support such a fantastic cause and to see the beautiful garden which will be used every day. Elsie will be remembered always at Smarties.”

Chester teacher receives award from Prime Minister for charity work

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3/6/2016

Chester Chronicle

·         09:00, 3 JUN 2016 – BY FRANCES BARRETT. small i think
Jane Mann Photography

Helen Lyons has been honoured with a Point of Light award by Prime Minister.

Helen Lyons has received a special award from the Prime Minister

An inspirational Chester teacher who founded a charity to help bereaved families following the loss of her own baby daughter has been honoured by the Prime Minister. Helen Lyons, 34, has received a Point of Light award from David Cameron for her tireless work through Elsie Ever After, which she set up after the tragic passing of Elsie at just 19 months old.

Chester Blue Coat CE Primary School teacher Helen realised that few services exist to help children like her eldest daughter Florence cope with their grief.
In just two years, Helen has raised £33,000, had more than 78 families referred to her for personalised support, and given out 1,300 bereavement packs for children.

Prime Minister David Cameron called Helen a ‘true Point of Light’ for touching the lives of so many people. “By choosing to use her experiences to help parents and children who are dealing with the loss of a loved one, she has made sure families in the North West always have somewhere to turn for bereavement support in their time of need,” he said.

Through Elsie Ever After, Helen provides direct bereavement support for those who do not meet the criteria for counselling elsewhere.
She also offers free services such as expressive dance classes for bereaved children, an online bereaved parent support group and guidance for adults working with children who have lost someone close to them. Her mission is to link all existing bereavement services and to plug the gap where services are lacking.

Helen was ‘shocked and delighted’ to be chosen as a recipient of the Point of Light award. She said: “I am so honoured to be recognised for the work I am doing to support bereaved families through Elsie Ever After. “I accept this award on behalf of all the amazing volunteers and organisations who work tirelessly to provide crucial bereavement support in our area and nationwide. “I dedicate this award to every single one of our supporters who have followed our journey, raised funds for us, given their skills and time and spread the word, so families can get the support they need at the time they need it most.“I am truly humbled to be supported by such generous and loyal supporters. Without them, none of what we do would be possible. ‘Small acts of kindness’ “When my daughter died, I realised that no-one could make the situation any better, but small acts of kindness could bring light to our darkest days: this is what we hope we are doing for others through the support we are providing.”

Helen was nominated for the award by Eddisbury MP Antoinette Sandbach, who sadly lost her baby son in 2009 from sudden infant death syndrome when he was only five days old. Ms Sandbach said: “The work that Helen does and the service that is provided is superb and I wish that I had been able to benefit from it years ago, I know that because of Helen and her determination other parents suffering a loss will be much better supported; I cannot praise her work enough and that is why I nominated her for the award, Helen deserves every recognition.”

http://www.chesterchronicle.co.uk/news/chester-cheshire-news/chester-teacher-receives-award-prime-11420398

Prime Minister awards

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25/5/2016

Prime Minister awards Point of Light to founder of Elsie Ever After, Helen Lyons

photo
538. Helen Lyons (Cheshire)

A bereaved mother from Cheshire provides support for hundreds of others who have lost loved ones.

Helen Lyons, 34, tragically lost her daughter, Elsie, before she had reached the age of two. She had been ill for several months but the doctors struggled to diagnose the source of her condition until it was too late.

After this experience, Helen became particularly aware of how her daughter, Florence, needed support to get through such a tragic event at such a young age. Helen set up ‘Elsie Ever After’ so that everyone, regardless of location or circumstance, could access the bereavement support of their choice.

Elsie Ever After began by supporting the local Hospice (The Hospice of the Good Shepherd) who provided crucial bereavement support for her family after Elsie died. The funds raised provided quarterly remembering days, which offered an invaluable opportunity for bereaved children, young people and families to spend time with people who had also lost someone special.

Helen then went on to provide direct bereavement support for those people who do not meet the criteria for counselling elsewhere. Now she offers a range of free services, such as: expressive dance classes for bereaved children; face to face counselling; an online bereaved parent support group; signposting services; guidance for adults working with bereaved children and personalised bereavement packs.

Her mission is to link all existing bereavement services and to plug the gap where services are lacking. In just 2 years, she has raised over £33,000; had over 78 families referred to her for personalised support and guidance; and given out 1,300 bereavement packs for children.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Helen is a true Point of Light, despite suffering her own great personal loss, she has devoted her time to invaluable work that has touched the lives of so many people. By choosing to use her experiences to help parents and children who are dealing with the loss of a loved one, she has made sure families in the North West always have somewhere to turn for bereavement support in their time of need.”

Helen said:

“I was both shocked and delighted to be chosen to receive a Point of Light Award from the Prime Minister. I am so honoured to be recognised for the work I am doing to support bereaved families through ‘Elsie Ever After’. I accept this award on behalf of all the amazing volunteers and organisations who work tirelessly to provide crucial bereavement support in our area and nationwide. I dedicate this award to every single one of our supporters who have followed our journey, raised funds for us, given their skills and time and spread the word, so families can get the support they need at the time they need it most. I am truly humbled to be supported by such generous and loyal supporters. Without them, none of what we do would be possible.”

“When my daughter died, I realised that no-one could make the situation any better, but small acts of kindness could bring light to our darkest days: this is what we hope we are doing for others through the support we are providing. Elsie was such a bright spark herself: bringing joy and love to friends and strangers alike. In the words of Emeli Sande’s song ‘Wonder’, which we played at Elsie’s celebration service – This light is contagious, go tell your neighbours, reach out and pass it on.”

https://www.pointsoflight.gov.uk/bereavement-support-for-all/

Fundraising with Bubbles

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21/1/2014

http://www.chesterchronicle.co.uk/news/chester-cheshire-news/chester-bluecoat-school-take-part-6520503

Pupil’s fundraiser is forever blowing bubbles  16 Jan 2014  17:14
Chester Bluecoat School take part in Blowing Bubbles for Bereavement event

bubbles

Chester Blue Coat CE School blowing Bubbles for Bereavement

Big-hearted children at Chester Blue Coat CE Primary School were bubbling with enthusiasm to raise funds for a charity set up by one of their teachers – and banished the January gloom with some eco-friendly fun at the same time.

Year 4 teacher Helen Lyons and her family were devastated last August when her younger daughter Elspeth died suddenly at the age of 19 months. To add to their burden of grief, it soon became clear that few services exist to help children such as the Lyons’ elder daughter Florence, aged five, cope with bereavement.

To try and redress the situation the family has set up their own charity called Elsie Ever After to link up bereavement services available and ensure a blanket of support, regardless of location. In particular, they aim to ensure that all families in Cheshire West and Chester know where to seek support, and that funds are available for that support to be provided.

The charity’s first fundraiser, Blowing Birthday Bubbles for Bereavement Bonanza (BBBBB) was timed to coincide with Elsie’s 2nd birthday on Friday, January 10 and involved people throughout the country blowing bubbles in imaginative locations. Pupils at Chester Blue Coat CE Primary School, on Walpole Street, were keen to get involved and formed a mass of bubbles in a giant heart shape in the playground for an event they named Blue Coat’s Billions of Bubbles Burst With Love, thanks to 120 pots of bubble mixture donated by Tesco’s Broughton store.

Other entries in the event included Chester fire service blowing bubbles high above the Chester skyline, bubble blowing in Trafalgar Square, in front of the London skyline, in front of the Angel of the North, on top of Snowdon, ducks enjoying bubbles in the River Dee and bubbles made from dry ice in a lab.

The winners were announced on Saturday. In joint fifth place were Miha and Sarah Claridge with 40 votes, fourth place was Fireman Gary Furmage with 46 votes, third was baby Anya with 51 votes, second was baby Bobby with 88 votes, and in first place was Chester Blue Coat School with 111 votes. The organiser and photographer of the winning photograph was Paula Howard-Jones. It is hoped to produce a photobook to raise more funds.

Contributors uploaded their photographs to the Elsie Ever After Facebook page , with more than 80 entries. People werer able to vote for their favourite photograph by ‘liking’ it and voting closes tomorrow (Friday). It is hoped to produce a photobook to raise more funds.

So far the event has raised £1,415, to add to the £3,650 raised for Alder Hey hospital instead of flowers at Elsie’s celebration of life service.

The money raised is being donated to Reflect, the child bereavement team at the Hospice of the Good Shepherd which provides bereavement support to Chester and the surrounding area to approximately 180 children each year.

It is hoped the money from BBBBB will be spent on items such as children’s bereavement books to become either a lending library based at the Hospice, or to be gifted to individual children in memory of Elsie, regular events where bereaved children and their parents can meet together and take part in activities such as story telling workshops and craft days to create items in memory of someone special, and funding more hours for trained bereavement counsellors to work with children who need support.

Helen said: “I am not the sort of person who feels like I must do something in Elsie’s name to remember her by. I don’t. I am a busy person. Believe it or not, I have lots of worthwhile things in my life to occupy my time and get me up in the morning. But I can’t see others go through the struggles we have just to get some support. Whilst grieving ourselves, we have been fighting to get some help for our little girl who cries herself to sleep, complains she is lonely at school and asks us regularly if we are going to die.”

Fellow teacher Paula Howard-Jones said of the event: “It was a very moving experience. The children had so much fun and it was for a very worthwhile cause.”

To donate to Elsie Ever After, log on to the  or to view photos of the event go to the  Elsie Ever After Facebook page . You can follow the charity on twitter @elsieeverafter or if your family wants help accessing bereavement services, email elsieeverafter@hotmail.com

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