WIDOWS and widowers will be able to come together for companionship and support thanks to a new group set up in Heddon-on-the-Wall.

The idea to bring together people who have experienced bereavement came from local resident Wendy Chinery, who lost her husband Clive around four years ago. Following a suggestion from a friend, it was agreed to call it Friends After Bereavement (FAB).

After moving to the area from Macclesfield to be closer to her daughter’s family, Wendy found herself hoping to make closer friendships with people who were going through similar experiences.

“I made a lot of friends up in the Methodist chapel and they were very welcoming and a lovely group, but I wanted something more than Sundays and odd Bible study meetings,” she said.

“I thought about it and I asked God what should I do and it came to me there must be a lot of people in my situation who are feeling lonely who don’t have the motivation to go out, who need support from other people in the same situation.”

There is now a small group of people from the local area who will meet on the third Tuesday of every month in the Garden Room at Heddon Methodist Church.

Following the first meeting last month, the group is already hoping to plan days out, lunches and picnics, and Wendy said she hoped Age UK would come along to talk about pensions and benefits, to ensure members were aware of what they are entitled to.

“The idea is to give people motivation, to give people a purpose and something to look forward to,” she explained.

“I realised I was going through depression and mourning at the same time and I mentioned it to my doctor. The doctor said in Heddon this was very much needed.”