1473. Petra Williams
Petra Williams, from Newcastle, founded ‘Darcey’s Dream’ after the tragic death of her baby, Darcey, to support bereaved siblings with counselling, play therapy and short breaks.
Darcey was nine and a half weeks old when she died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in February 2017, leaving behind a twin sister and an older sister. Petra found there was a lack of support available for bereaved families who have lost a child, particularly for siblings. Launching the charity in the North East, Petra has so far given support to over 3,000 families in the region, and during lockdown also authored her first book to help parents discuss mental wellbeing with their children.
In a personal letter to Petra, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“On behalf of the country, I wanted to express my gratitude for all that you do through ‘Darcey’s Dream’ by making you a Point of Light.
“No family should have to endure the loss of a child, and I am full of admiration for how you have created a lasting legacy to Darcey by bringing comfort to other families in times of grief. With your leaflets and memory boxes for siblings, you have made sure that children, as well as parents, have the support they so desperately need to remember and cherish the lives of their loved ones.”
“It is a great honour to receive the Points Of Light Award from the Prime Minister Boris Johnson. I feel extremely privileged to receive this award and would like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart – it means the world to me. This award I also owe to my incredible team that I have behind me at ‘Darcey’s Dream’. I couldn’t achieve everything that I do without them. I really do have the best team. When I founded ‘Darcey’s Dream – My Family and Siblings Matter’ I wanted to ensure that every member of the family was supported through bereavement with a special focus on siblings as they often get overlooked when their brother or sister has passed away.
“I lived through one of the worst traumas and I could have easily given up but I chose to help others. If I can save lives by sharing my story and being there 24/7 every single day of the year to support people, I have achieved what I set out to do. I found my therapy in helping others. My other children were completely overlooked when their sister died and I saw firsthand the lack of support for bereaved siblings. I set out to change this and I have made it my life-long mission to get sibling loss recognised, ensuring all grieving siblings get the support and help they so desperately need through ‘Darcey’s Dream’. Our children’s mental health is so important and if we don’t protect it this can have catastrophic consequences. Grieving children go through so much and they need us to be there for them. At ‘Darcey’s Dream’ we put the colour back in to their rainbow by helping them process their emotions and feelings, providing them with support and services, supporting their mental health and teaching them how to learn to live again whilst keeping their sibling’s memory alive.
“I dedicate a lot of hours to help as many people as I can along with the rest of the team. We all volunteer and have helped over 3,000 families to date and the one thing that keeps us all going is our passion to make a difference. Ensuring that every member of the family is supported and their mental health is supported is paramount to ‘Darcey’s Dream’. I will never turn anyone away and will always be here. I will always be a voice for children and young people to make sure their grief is recognised and that they are never overlooked. Thank you for this incredible award, it is the greatest honour to be awarded it. Thank you to our Prime Minister Boris Johnson for recognising the work that I do alongside my team and I will continue to help everyone that I can.”