Emma Marston, General Manager – Works 30 hours a week, usually Monday to Thursday
“When I was a young person my best friend died. It was a devastating experience but motivated me to join Families in Grief. I was particularly driven to help young people and so created the group Teens in Grief in 2013. It’s incredibly heart-warming to see the positive difference our support makes. I am proud to say that we now help many more bereaved children and their families feel better and less alone than when I first started in 2012.
My job is very rewarding but tough at times, and so I do lots of sea swimming and running to unwind!”
Ellie Mackay, Family Coordinator – Works 20 hours a week, usually Wednesday pm to Friday
“I started working for FiG in August 2020, after 25 years as a primary school teacher. I was widowed myself in Feb 2000 and brought up my two young children as a single parent for 11 years, then married Craig (a widower with 3 children) and formed a blended family. Our children are now all in their twenties, so I have plenty of first-hand experience of living with grief while bringing up bereaved children of all ages! It is a great privilege to be able to help support other bereaved families in my work with FiG.
Alongside my work for FiG, I fit in private tuition for maths and English, looking after the animals on our smallholding, playing in a local orchestra, gardening, reading and knitting! I also volunteer for Care for the Family’s Widowed Young Support network as a telephone befriender.”
Abi Mandeville, Family Coordinator – Works 20 hours a week, usually Monday to Wednesday
“Supporting young people is my passion. Life can be particularly hard for teenagers, and so experiencing a death on top of the other challenges they face can be overwhelming. When the job at FiG was advertised I was working with young adult carers for another charity. FiG has a great reputation for the support they offer and they were in a position to grow as a service which I found really exciting. Having had a bereavement as a teenager I feel strongly about helping young people to build resilience and thrive despite any challenges that they have to overcome.”
Karen Hutton, Administrator – works Tuesday to Thursday, 9-5
“Throughout my varied working life, including spells as a police officer and a teacher, I have always wanted what I do to make a difference to people. When I saw the amazing work that FiG was doing to support my community, and in particular the difference they were making to the lives of children, I knew that this is was an organisation I wanted to be part of. Much of my time is spent ensuring that the admin is all done so that the Family Support Team can do their vital work.
For me, however, the most rewarding aspect to my role is speaking to families and professionals who are reaching out for help; to hear the relief in their voice when I can tell them that we will do all we can to support them through what might be the most difficult time they have ever faced.”
Tracey Elliott, Chair of Trustees
“I became chair of trustees in December 2020 after volunteering for Families in Grief for a few years, mainly with the Teens group and Parents group. I have worked in my day job with teenagers for many years, firstly as a youth worker in my early 20’s and then as a nurse on a teenage cancer unit in London.
I moved to Devon in 2008 and now work as a specialist nurse in palliative care at North Devon Hospice; which means I have seen first-hand how valuable FiG is to our bereaved families. These last couple of years have been hard work but also so wonderful. I have immensely enjoyed helping FiG to grow and have loved working with the wonderful staff and volunteer team who – through dedication, hard work and buckets of care – give much needed support to bereaved families.”
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