BEM Award

Dr Bill writes: “I felt very honoured when I learned I had been awarded the British Empire Medal in the King’s New Year’s Honours List (2024) in recognition of my contribution to the field of grief support both in the UK and in Canada.

I actually felt quite humbled by it, realizing that this was not just about me, but validating the importance bringing effective grief support to people at one of the most challenging times of their lives.

It is hard to believe that when I registered for my doctoral programme in the mid-eighties and indicated that I wanted to do my research projects in the field of grief support, the response was “in WHAT??”

Since then, the whole field of loss, death and dying has been more widely recognized and people are talking more about this most difficult life experience.  It has been my privilege to have played even a small part in that movement.

For many years, I facilitated localcommunity grief support in local communities in Canada, and some 30 years ago formulated a “Community Bereavement Support Programme”, which has paved the way for Funeral Directors and others, both in Canada and in the UK to facilitate their own local bereavement support groups. 

My books have been distributed far and wide and are now available in PDF format on our website; and our videos and web-sites have reached many people. I produced and hosted a nationally broadcast weekly television programme in Canada entitled ‘Living with Loss’.

And I like to say that “I’m not finished yet”!! With my partners, I am excited about the possibilities for our new “When Life Changes” initiative which provides a new way of communicating and supporting grieving people.

I am grateful to have received this British Empire Medal award, but even more importantly to me, to have it acknowledged that in some small way I have made a difference for grieving people. That truly is the greatest honour.

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