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Charity couple

250. Zoe Clark-Coates
249. Andy Clark-Coates

A couple who founded a charity that supports thousands of people who have lost a child during pregnancy, at birth or infancy.

Zoe and Andy Clark-Coates, from Devon, tragically lost five babies to miscarriages and were determined to do everything they could to provide practical support for others experiencing the loss of a child during pregnancy, at birth or during infancy.

The couple set up Saying Goodbye in 2012, a charity which now supports tens of thousands of people going through difficult bereavements. Saying Goodbye has organised over 45 remembrance services throughout the UK and US to give parents an opportunity to commemorate and celebrate the lives of those lost.

Saying Goodbye runs an online support service for those affected by loss, providing befrienders who have gone through similar circumstances and providing practical support for grieving parents through videos and booklets. The support service on their website receives over 650,000 hits per month, and Zoe and Andy rely on a dedicated team over over 200 volunteers across the UK who help to fundraise for the charity or run activities for them.

Saying Goodbye has an active community of ambassadors including Nigella Lawson, Lord Robert Winston and Jools Oliver. The remembrance services held in cathedrals across the UK are open to people of all faiths or none and Zoe and Andy have found that bringing people together for moments of reflection can help to ease the pain caused by their difficult experiences.

So far the couple have organised over 45 services throughout the UK and also in the last year organised five services in the US including the first service in New York.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Andy and Zoe have used their own heart-breaking experiences of loss to create an inspirational charity supporting thousands of people. Saying Goodbye remembrance services give those who have lost a child during pregnancy, at birth or during infancy a space to grieve and shows them they are not alone. I am proud to name them the UK’s 249th and 250th Points of Light.”

Zoe Clark-Coates said:

“I am truly honoured to have been recognised with a Point of Light award by the Prime Minister. There have been so many amazing recipients of these awards, doing such worthwhile work, and for the work of our charity to be recognised alongside such winners, is an amazing privilege and reward.

Andrew Clark-Coates said:

“To be awarded a Point of Light award by the Prime Minister David Cameron is such an honour. As a charity we are simply trying to make a difference, to help change lives, and for our efforts to be recognised as important and worthy of an award is truly wonderful.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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