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Wathall's Activity Book Helps Children Come To Terms With Loss

Published on Tuesday 8 June 2021

Family-owned Wathall’s, which is Derby’s longest established independent funeral directors, has created a beautifully illustrated activity book to support children and young people who have lost a loved one.

Standing is Stacey Smaller, Business Relationships Manager at Treetops Hospice and seated (with the children’s bereavement activity book) is Fay Bloor, bereavement support coordinator at Wathall’s.

Wathall’s Bereavement Support Coordinator and qualified counsellor Fay Bloor has worked with University of Derby graduate and freelance illustrator Michael Ashley to create the book entitled ‘Missing Someone Special – working your way through loss’.

The book has been published as part of Wathall’s Dandelions Bereavement Support service and gently explains practical things such as what happens at both burial and cremation services as well as highlighting the importance of sharing emotions following a bereavement.

There is also space for children to write down their happy memories of the loved one they have lost and express their feelings through words and pictures.

The activity book costs £12.99 and at least £1 from the sale of each book will be given to Treetops Hospice and will put towards their Children’s Bereavement Service.

The activity book is accompanied by a booklet and a blog, both also written by Fay Bloor, aimed at adults which focus on how to support children through bereavement. .

She explained: “We hope that the children’s activity book and the booklet will be useful aides for families during what is a particularly difficult time in all their lives having lost a loved one.

“Adults often feel like they must protect children from the harsh reality of death and are obviously mourning a loss themselves.  However, avoiding the discussions can cause confusion and anxiety for the child. 

“The reality is that children are extremely resilient and can deal with the truth, if it is explained to them carefully in an age-appropriate way.

“The activity book is therefore designed to gently explain what has happened and the kind of words and phrases that they have perhaps heard people discussing.

“It also highlights the range of emotions that they may be feeling, from anger to guilt, and encourages them to express these in the book which families can then use as a starting point for reassurance and support.

“The booklet for adults addresses subjects such as breaking bad news about death in a straightforward and honest way; what language to avoid; involvement in funeral arrangements; common reactions and suggestions for working through grief as a family.”

The illustrations for the activity book were created by Michael Ashley (23) who studied a degree in Illustration at the University of Derby.

He said: “I wanted to create characters in the book that were gentle and approacheable and Fay and I agreed that the woodland animals would be more relatable to children of all ages and cultures.

“I am really pleased with the book and I hope it will open doors for me to pursue a career in children’s illustration.”

To order a copy of the activity book, please contact Wathall’s, Tel: 01332 345268 email  or on Facebook  

For more information about Michael Ashley, visit 

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