Lesley repays Exmouth charity for bereavement assistance

PUBLISHED: 12:30 26 June 2016

Hugo Swire MP was invited to open the new Pete's Dragon suicide bereavement charity head quarters in Exmouth earlier this month. Ref exe 24-16AW 0191. Picture: Alex Walton

Hugo Swire MP was invited to open the new Pete's Dragon suicide bereavement charity head quarters in Exmouth earlier this month. Ref exe 24-16AW 0191. Picture: Alex Walton

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A grieving mum has found hope through heartache by helping to create new headquarters for the charity that was there when she needed it most.

Devastated by the death of her son, Dan, in 2014, Lesley Rowland, says her family received very little in the way of formal help and support, but in the Christmas of that year, was surprised to receive a ‘Hug in a Hamper’ gift from Pete’s Dragons.

At the time, she had heard little of the Exmouth-based charity that offers support and comfort to people bereaved by suicide, but has gone on to play a key role in helping to renovate its new premises.

Founded by Alison Hill after the loss of her brother, Pete’s Dragons now offers respite in the form of a free holiday for people in the region affected by suicide.

Lesley, of St Budeaux Close, Ottery St Mary, said: “After I received the hamper, Alison came to speak to us and we have been friends ever since. Any day I can spare, I come to help out. I just want the word to be spread around so people know what the charity is about.

“It is amazing the work Pete’s Dragons does. I had never lost anyone in my life so I did not know what was out there, but we went months before we had anyone talk to us about Dan’s death. It has really helped me to come and get involved.”

Alison explained that Pete’s Dragons started as a fundraising group to thank the charities that had helped her family, but grew out of demand.

This is the first official HQ for the charity and also contains treatment rooms and meeting space, as well as the self-contained holiday home.

As previously reported, it was opened by East Devon MP Hugo Swire, who praised the ‘inspirational’ work carried out.

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