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Chester teacher receives award from Prime Minister for charity work

By Fund Raising No Comments

3/6/2016

Chester Chronicle

3 JUN 2016 – BY FRANCES BARRETT.
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

Smarties nursery open fairy garden in memory of Elsie

By Press No Comments

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.”

Prime Minister awards

By Press No Comments

25/5/2016

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


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/