Supporting parents through bereavement
312. Lesley Anderson
Lesley Anderson, 52 from Penicuik, near Edinburgh, was tragically bereaved 27 years ago when her first son Chris was stillborn at 29 weeks. She set up ‘ComforTED’ in 2013 to provide recently bereaved parents of tiny babies with a pair of teddies: One to stay with the child and the other to stay with the parents. Since the organisation was founded she has handmade over 900 teddies that have been distributed throughout the UK and Ireland with demand from as far away as the US.
When Lesley was bereaved in 1988 she found little support was available for parents in her position, particularly when it came to funeral arrangements and making precious memories. She wanted other parents to receive some comfort from their loss, and founded ‘ComforTED’ to help the grieving process.
No matter where parents are on their journey of grief, Lesley believes that it is never too late to create a memory – one request came from a lady in her 80s who had lost a child many years ago. She also believes that distance is no barrier – and recently handmade 50 pairs of teddies to go to families across the USA as part of a bereavement project.
The project is mainly funded by Lesley and her husband, Sam, with small donations from families and others affected by child loss.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“Nothing can ever take away the pain of losing a child. But Lesley’s desire to use her experience to support other bereaved parents shows amazing courage. The pairs of teddy bears she gives to bereaved parents of very young babies offer them much needed comfort in their darkest hour. To the hundreds of families Lesley has supported in the UK and around the world Lesley truly is a Point of Light.”
“It is wonderful to receive this kind of recognition as it underlines how small gestures can make a huge difference.”