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The Compassionate Friends

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Type  Support Group
Founded  28 January 1969 (1969-01-28)
Tax ID no.  Company Limited by Guarantee, Reg No 04029535.
Registration no.  England and Wales Charity number 1082335
Focus  Bereaved parents and families
Location  14 New King Street, Deptford, London, SE8 3HS

Compassionate Friends UK (TCF) is a peer support group operating in the United Kingdom. It is a registered charity formed by and for parents whose children have died, irrespective of the child's age at death and the cause of death, and is independent of any religious, philosophical or government body.

It has a national helpline and area coordinators, holds local and national meetings, and operates information services including advice leaflets, a web site and a postal lending library. All TCF volunteers and officials are themselves bereaved parents or siblings. TCF works to improve the treatment of bereaved parents in society by educating mental health professionals and informing the public through the publication of books, the creation of news reports and the dissemination of stories of individual experiences through local media.,

TCF organizes and supports local TCF groups which hold regular, free, open meetings in neutral premises. Each group follows TCF's creed, which mandates that bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings attending these meetings need not speak but are free to express their feelings.


TCF was founded in 1969 by the families of Billy Henderson and Kenneth Lawley who both died in the Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital (now University Hospital Coventry) in May 1968. One grieving mother sent flowers to the other via the hospital chaplain, the Rev (later Canon) Simon Stevens, and the parents decided to meet to find ways to help each other survive their loss. After meeting informally they arranged a meeting with other bereaved parents in a room at the same hospital on January 28, 1969, at which the organisation was founded as The Society of the Compassionate Friends, with the help of Stevens who had by then become Chaplain aboard HMS Ark Royal.

The organization expanded across the UK and abroad during the following years. The Compassionate Friends in the US developed following the publication of a story in Time Magazine in 1971 under the title "Therapeutic Friendship", describing the experience of a mother whose daughter had died from cancer. In 2012 there were about 600 chapters around the country.

Stevens was also instrumental in promoting the organisation abroad, and sister organisations were founded in Canada, Australia. and South Africa by 1990, and later on in European countries including France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.


The Compassionate Friends Wikipedia

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