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Norwich woman’s loss spurs her on to create bereavement booklet for young adults

09:04 20 August 2014

Moira Hickson was just 11 when her brother died in a canoeing accident. Photo: Bill Smith

Moira Hickson was just 11 when her brother died in a canoeing accident. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2014

A Norwich woman has written a booklet for young adults on coping with bereavement, after she struggled to come to terms with the loss of her brother.

Iain Hickson.Iain Hickson.

Moira Hickson was devastated when her 19-year-old brother, Iain, died after his canoe capsized during a canoeing competition in Wales in 2000.

Miss Hickson was just 11 at the time, and she and her family endured a three-week wait for his body to be found.

Now, nearly 14 years later, Miss Hickson has joined forces with Fixers, a charity which helps young people who are motivated by personal experience to make positive change for themselves and those around them.

Wanting others to understand the ramifications of grief upon mental health, the 25-year-old has created an informative booklet, which she hopes will guide those who are struggling with loss.

She said: “I want to help others by telling them my story and letting them know they are not alone.

“When you suffer something like bereavement, it is such a taboo to talk to other people about it, either because you don’t want to bother other people with your problems or because you don’t want to upset family or friends because they are grieving as well.”

The booklet contains personal stories by young people who have lost a loved one, and contains suggestions for ways to cope with the grief.

One idea included is to create paper boats, write messages on them and sail them down a river. Miss Hickson, who lives in York Street and works at the Unthank Road East of England Co-operative store, said her university friends helped her to do this on the first anniversary of her brother’s death that she spent away from home.

She said anniversaries and Christmases were still very difficult, but she felt sure Iain would be proud of everything she was doing with Fixers.

“If even just the tiny effort of my booklet can help people realise they are not alone then I will be happy,” said Miss Hickson, who hopes to distribute her project in areas where they would be easily accessible to those who may be in need, such as schools and youth clubs.

Do you have a story about a young person who is striving to make life better for others? Email



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