Tommy D in Thailand

Eight teenagers from our Tommy D group for bereaved young people have arrived in Surin, Thailand, where they will be volunteer within the local community and help vulnerable children. The group, which is part of our counselling service, hopes to learn from and help the young children they will meet, as well as make a physical difference by renovating the local school. The youngsters have all suffered a close personal loss, and for many this will be the first time they are away from their parents for more than a day or two, which can be hard following a close bereavement.

You can read all about their amazing adventure in their blog here.

“It will be tough for both for the kids and the parents, but will help them grow and gain more confidence and independence,” explained Julie Cole, Head of Children’s Counselling Service. “This is not a holiday but a chance for the youngsters to help others and see how they cope with the feeling of abandonment and isolation,” added Julie, who went on a similar trip with Tommy D in August 2013 to volunteer at an orphanage on Kenya.

Frankie Sleet, aged 20, went on the Kenya trip and before travelling to Thailand she told us how excited she is to be part of another Tommy D trip abroad. “Going to Kenya was a huge reality check for me. Although I felt prepared I wasn’t emotionally ready for what we encountered. The purpose of visiting a developing country was for us to understand how the children dealt with loss and abandonment, as well as teaching them how we have dealt with it,” explained Frankie, who lost her farther when she was 7 years old. “It was tough but we found out so much about ourselves and our feelings towards bereavement. In Thailand we’ll help look after very poor children in a day care centre, while their parents work in the fields. They will also know about abandonment just like everyone in Tommy D does, and this will really test us and our support of one another,” added Frankie.

The local teenagers have prepared for their challenging journey for over a year and funded the entire project themselves through various events such as quizzes, car washes, cake sales and sponsored walks. If you would like to make a donation to the Tommy D group please call the Hospices Fundraising Team on 01483881752.

The group will be gone for 14 days and includes: George Dixon, Fred Dixon, Andrew Baynham, Frankie Sleet, Liam Grant, Harriet O’Leary, Rosie Wheaton, Bethany Manners, who only joined the group a month ago, and counsellors Julie Cole, Tristan Bishop and Annie Manfield.

You can read more about our Tommy D counselling group here.

Read the latest updates from Tommy D in Thailand here.