Chair speaks at Bereavement Care conference

03rd November 2022


Cllr Debbie Morris, the Chair of Three Rivers District Council, recently gave the closing address at the Bereavement Care conference held in Northwood. Cllr Morris shares her thoughts on the event and the importance of the charity's work.

I was privileged to be invited to the forty-first Bereavement Care conference held in Northwood on 26 October and to give the closing address summing up the day.

Bereavement Care is a charity with which I’ve been associated for very many years. It provides bereavement support to children and adults through visits and telephone calls made by trained volunteers. I was one of those volunteers for over a decade, only retiring when close family members fell terminally ill.

The first keynote speaker at the conference was Dr Samantha Duggan who spoke about addiction and recovery. To quote Dr. Duggan: “Addiction is a cause and consequence of bereavement and very much associated with grief." I learnt with some surprise that of all addictions, eating disorders cause the highest rate of fatalities in this country.

The second keynote address was given by Judy Roth, the volunteers coordinator for Jewish Women’s Aid and a local bereavement visitor. She detailed seven types of domestic abuse and showed a very short but incredibly powerful film, “Behind Closed Doors” which depicted a family affected by domestic violence. One very salient question came up in the subsequent Q & A: why do we ask why the sufferer doesn’t leave instead of asking why the perpetrator doesn’t stop? Judy responded that we all need to keep trying to change the conversation.

There were workshop sessions in the afternoon. I attended one on mindfulness, the ethos of which is the awareness of the present. However, the facilitator, Barbara Lenton, pointed out that for the bereaved, the past is very present.

My thanks go to the Chair of the organising committee, Judy Silverton, along with Bobbi Reisel, for including me in this thoroughly engaging and enlightening day.

Cllr Debbie Morris, Chair of Three Rivers District Council