Bristol academic's 'profound loss' inspired Good Grief festival

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Dr Lucy SelmanImage source, Dr Lucy Selman
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Lucy Selman said: "Channelling my own grief led to creating Good Grief Bristol"

The founder of a festival that helps people talk about grief says was inspired by the "profound loss" she felt when her daughter was stillborn.

Lucy Selman, of Bristol University, conducts research on healthcare at the end of life and family experiences of care and bereavement.

"Channelling my own grief led to creating Good Grief Bristol," she said.

Grants are available for community events such as grief cafes, concerts or story-telling evenings.

Image source, Unsplash
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Banksy's Girl With Balloon is an "iconic piece representing both loss and hope", said Dr Selman

Dr Selman said: "I have experienced close bereavement in my life and am aware of how difficult people can find it when a friend or family member is grieving.

"When I was 15, my father Barrie died of cancer on Christmas Eve.

"In 2018, our second daughter Ada was stillborn. These difficult experiences inspired me to found Good Grief Bristol.

"While no one ever 'gets over' grief, when we're bereaved we go through what can be a very painful period of adjusting to the loss.

"One way of journeying through grief can be to do something positive or creative."

Image source, Karen Lloyd
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Karen Lloyd said they would apply for a grant to set up a "healing and remembrance" walk after the success of their Walk Fest event in May

Karen Lloyd, from Active Ageing Bristol, is involved in Bristol Walk Fest, which encourages older people to "get out and walk".

Since it started in 2013, she said "participation had increased five-fold" - more than 7,800 took part this year.

Ms Lloyd said: ''The reason why we are applying to Good Grief for a community event grant for the festival, is because developing a healing and remembrance walk as a community event, feels like a really positive and creative way of processing grief.

"Walking can not only help you build stamina, burn excess calories and make your heart healthier, it can also have a positive impact on your overall sense of wellbeing.''

Sam Thomas, from counselling charity The Harbour, said: "Grief is an everyday experience for so many of us, and the festival will be a fantastic way for people from across the city to come together and share their experiences of loss and bereavement."

Applications for the grants, funded by the Wellcome Trust, are open to local groups, for the week-long festival in May, and must be submitted by 31 January through the website.

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