Man who lost his mother young campaigns for bereavement awareness to be taught in schools

A Bridgnorth man who suffered the loss of his mother as a child is campaigning to have bereavement awareness incorporated into the national curriculum for schools.

John with his son Jack, five, raised money at the Great North Run
John with his son Jack, five, raised money at the Great North Run

John Adams has even enlisted the support of Philip Dunne, MP for Ludlow, Bridgnorth and south Shropshire, to his cause, and is now gaining the support of other MPs throughout the country.

And such is his determination to help provide support for young people, he raised more than £2,000 for Child Bereavement UK when taking part in the Great North Run.

John, who is a director of Perry & Phillips Funeral Directors, wrote to then Education Secretary Gavin Williamson in July 2021 to present why he believed bereavement awareness should be made compulsory in schools.

He has since gathered support and spoken to parliamentary committees about his views.

"I want to help young people when they suffer a close loss," said Mr Adams. "I lost my mum Maria, at the age of 12, and I felt very isolated.

"People were not sure what to say to me, which is understandable.

"From this experience and what I have learnt whilst arranging and conducting funerals, I believe there is a need for bereavement awareness to be added into the national curriculum.

"I want to give children tools of support and offer advice, in the same way pupils learn about sex education in school.

"It is about helping them understand emotions and feelings when someone dies, exploring those things associated with loss but in a gentle way.

"It's about trying to take the fear out of death through offering support to a child, compassion to friends and support for teachers on how they can communicate and speak.

"If we get things right we can have a positive impact on society and how we treat one another.

"Opening up on sadness and grief through honest conversation is important and you can still protect people by giving them information.

"It doesn't mean you will suffer a close loss but it just means, when you do, it will help. It's just in case."

John said that a parent dies every 22 minutes in the UK. And he said: "I have been through it and know what it feels like.

"I use my experience as fuel now. I take my mother with me and she is part of what I hope to achieve.

"We have charities such as Child Bereavement, who carry out very special work, by supporting young people when they lose a loved one and provide care and support when a child dies.

"The educational work they already have in place could help so many, prior to suffering a loss. We just need to see this all aligned and I believe we are getting there in Parliament."

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