Young bereavement supporter
393. Luke Waddon
A young bereavement support worker volunteering for terminal illness charity Marie Curie.
Luke Waddon found the support he and his younger brother Henry received from Marie Curie invaluable when their father, Alun, died in 2008. He wanted to give something back to the charity that had made such a huge difference in his life and to help other young people going through similar experiences. Now aged 20 and studying Psychology at Bath University, Luke has gone on to become Marie Curie’s only teenage bereavement support volunteer.
Luke now provides intensive support to young people aged 6-16 at the Marie Curie Hospice, Cardiff and the Vale. He talks to children and young people about his own experiences of when his dad died when Luke was a young teenager, to help them realise that it is ok to feel sad following the death of a loved one and that it does not mean that they cannot still go on to be successful young people. His age and ability to relate to the teenagers he supports have helped him have a unique impact within the team, he was able to get a young boy to open up about the death of a family member which he had been reluctant to do with the adults in the bereavement team.
He has also advised Marie Curie on how to improve its services and facilities for young people, suggesting improvements to the hospice children’s room and making the building a more welcoming, child-friendly environment.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“Luke has shown incredible strength in taking the awful experience of losing his father so young, and looking for a way to support other young people in similar situations. He brings a unique insight and approach to Marie Curie’s work that has been invaluable in making a difference in the lives of the young people he supports. To all those he has helped, Luke truly is a Point of Light.”
Dr Jane Collins, Chief Executive at Marie Curie, said:
“Luke’s kindness, understanding and unique insight has really enhanced our bereavement service at the Marie Curie Hospice, Cardiff and the Vale. His contribution is making a lasting difference to the lives of the children and young people he supports. He is a remarkable young man, a real asset to the hospice and thoroughly deserving of this award. “Marie Curie is reliant on the generosity of its volunteers. We are extremely lucky to have someone like Luke offering support to families affected by terminal illness.”
“I am honoured to receive the Point of Light award. The programme is such a good initiative and helps to raise awareness of how important volunteer services are. I would like to thank everyone at Marie Curie for the help and support that they have given me over the years, and I am pleased that I can now give something back and help those that need it most.”