Hello, my name is Fay and I'm a Psychotherapeutic Counsellor and author, specialising in bereavement support.
I'm passionate about spreading awareness of what's 'normal' when people are grieving, so that we can all better support each other in this universal experience.
In July 2012, after the first year of Sixth Form, I went to G. Wathall & Son's Funeral Directors for one week of work experience, more than ten years on and I'm still there. Over the years both my role, the industry and the company (now known as Wathall's) have changed greatly and I've been so lucky to have had the friendship and support of Managing Director, Helen Wathall MBE, throughout the years.
I was originally taken on as a Funeral Arranger, helping families organise all aspects of their loved one's send off , from coffin choice and flowers, to placing obituary notices in The Times. In 2014, Helen Wathall launched Derby Dandelions, a free bereavement support group for anyone affected by a loss, regardless of when it happened and whether they used Wathall's for the funeral. She also had myself and a couple of colleagues trained by the wonderful Dr Bill Webster to facilitate his renowned Grief Journey Programme.
I'd never considered that the bereavement support side of things would be something I could do, but I quickly fell in love with it. My favourite part of arranging funerals had always been 'being there' for the families and learning about the person that had died, both of which are central to providing bereavement support, so I suppose it does make sense that I found myself enjoying the new role. A couple of years into helping facilitate the groups I began a three year course and qualified as a Psychotherapeutic Counsellor, allowing me to offer more in-depth support to those who needed it.
From the early days of a once monthly group and thrice yearly programme, our Derby Dandelions steadily grew into the Dandelions Bereavement Support we're so proud of today, offering 4 support groups a month, 6 public programmes a year, bereavement counselling in our specially designed therapy room and bereavement training to businesses and charities. It's all been a huge learning curve and a wonderful adventure, and I feel so lucky to have been a part of it.
My first book, Missing Someone Special, came about because of the national lockdown, I'd had vague ideas about creating something similar before but never had the chance. Because the majority of my day to day work had been put on hold, I finally found the time and the book came together. I expected that it would just be something we printed and sold internally, so was delighted when Helen said that Wathall's would fund it's illustration and publishing. Following the book's success, I was inspired to write a second one, for grown ups this time, in order to help support a wider audience.
I've been, and continue to be, incredibly lucky for the warmth, opportunities and support I've received throughout my career. I love my job and could never express just how grateful I am to all those that have supported me and helped me to grow along the way.
For more information on the support Dandelions can offer, please