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Husband and Daughters Make Fitting Tribute to Loving Wife, Mother, Nan and Great-Nan

The family of a retired special needs school support worker has donated money pledged in her memory to help children better understand and cope with bereavement.

Sue North (68) worked at St Andrew’s Academy in Oakwood for more than 25 years before she retired and was also a loving wife mother, nan and great-nan with a close-knit family living in and around Chaddesden.

When she died suddenly, her husband Ken and daughters Lisa and Donna were determined to do something special in her memory that would reflect her caring and nurturing nature.

Instead of flowers, mourners at Mrs Susan North’s funeral service were asked to make donations which have been used to buy 37 copies of a children’s bereavement activity book ‘Missing Someone Special – working your way through loss.’

The book was written by Fay Bloor who is a trained counsellor and bereavement coordinator at Wathall’s funeral directors who made the arrangements for the North family.  The illustrations for the book were created by University of Derby graduate, Michael Ashley featuring woodland creature characters.

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 books will now be given to families with children who are struggling with bereavement and, in turn, Wathall’s has donated a proportion of the book price to Treetops Hospice children’s bereavement service.

Sue’s husband Ken explained: “Sue had a special way with children – whether that was her own family or the children at St Andrew’s who she worked with.  She was also a real nature lover and the illustrations in the book of animals, trees and flowers really resonated with me.

“We have therefore bought copies of the books for Wathall’s to give to families they feel in most need.

“We feel that this is a perfect tribute to Sue who is so sorely missed by everyone she knew and loved.  She had time for everyone and was constantly being stopped for a hug by former pupils at St Andrew’s and their families who she supported.

“Our children, grandchildren and now great grandchildren were her world and all miss her dreadfully but we hope that the donation of these books will help other families who face the same grief as we all do.”

Wathall’s Fay Bloor added: “This is a lovely tribute to Sue who, by all accounts, was a wonderfully kind, loving and caring person.

“I wrote the children’s bereavement activity book during Covid. 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.”

For more information about how to apply for one of the bereavement support books and about the Dandelions Bereavement Support Service, please email