St Albans Bereavement Network bids farewell to charity stalwart

STAFF and volunteers at a St Albans charity came together to give an inspirational colleague a good send off.

Charis Harbidge, who has left the St Albans and District Bereavement Network (SABN), was thanked for her contribution to the development of the support service by around 50 of her colleagues.

She joined SABN in 2004 and was given responsibility for creating a service to support children who had been bereaved of a significant person in their lives. It has now grown into a service which is unique in the county and highly valued by parents, schools, GPs and the county council’s children, schools and families (CSF) department.

Only last year she was instrumental in setting up a countywide conference to support all those working in schools involved in the care of bereaved children and young people.

Michael Elves, chairman of SABN, said: “Charis saw needs and went about filling them. She developed work with schools to support not only bereaved pupils but training teachers in how to cope with bereavement.”

He described the high esteem with which she was held in schools through the area and how SABN had offered support to young people and teaching staff during a recent period of teenage suicides and traumatic deaths in the district.

Frances Coupe, head of the children and young people’s commissioning team for CSF, added: “Charis is clearly committed to improving the lives of children and young people who have been affected by bereavement. She has been a great advocate for this area of work and it is valued by all in CSF. She has made a difference.”

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SABN is entering into its eighth year and offers support to all those suffering the loss of a loved one in the St Albans district. For further information go to