People who have lost loved ones through drugs or alcohol can remember the good things about their lives at a service at Norwich cathedral, from 7.30pm tomorrow.

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Every year more than 300 people die as a result of drugs and alcohol in Norfolk, and for many relatives and friends it is a tragedy that is hard to share and difficult to bear.

This is the fifth year the service of remembrance has been held at the cathedral, and it is normally attended by about 150 people, who come from across the region and farther afield.

Norfolk coroner William Armstrong, who will be taking part in the service, said: “The service in the cathedral offers an opportunity for families and friends to come together to share their grief, to give thanks for the lives of their loved ones, however damaged they may have been, and to experience a sense of fellowship and acceptance.”

The Matthew Project, based in Pottergate, Norwich, which provides advice and counselling to drug users, drinkers, carers and families in the Norwich area, is supporting the event.

Its chief executive officer Rosalie Weetman said: “This service provides an opportunity to spend time remembering those people we cared about, who are no longer with us due to alcohol and drug use.

“We often find it difficult to express our feelings on the death of a loved one, and in these situations we can find it hard to be open about the realities behind these losses.

“In this service we can all come together with a shared and non-judgemental understanding of the variety of emotions we feel and in doing so find strength and peace.”

Carol, who lost her son to drugs and alcohol seven years ago and did not wish to give her surname, has been involved in the services since 2007.

She said: “It has been a lovely thing to belong to; you remember your loved ones early in their lives before they got involved with drugs and alcohol.

“It’s good to mourn and the service is a time to think specifically about them and it then leaves you freer to get on with your life. It helps repair some of the hurt; it’s such a loving atmosphere to remember them in.”

During the service there will be an opportunity for people to choose a pebble and place it in front of the altar in memory of the person they have known and cared for. There will also be people available to talk to, if necessary.

Would you like to pay tribute to a loved one who has died through drugs or alcohol? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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