Norwich woman’s charity quest after death of brother in canoeing tragedy

Moira Hickson, whose brother died in a canoeing accident in 2000.

Moira Hickson, whose brother died in a canoeing accident in 2000. - Credit: Archant

A Norwich woman has started a campaign to help others who have lost a loved one - 13 years after her brother died in a canoeing tragedy.

Iain Hickson, who died in a canoeing accident in 2000.

Iain Hickson, who died in a canoeing accident in 2000.

The family of Iain Hickson endured a three week wait for the 19-year-old's body to be found following an accident during a canoeing competition on December 2 2000 in Wales.

The second year chemistry student at the University of Wales in Swansea died after his canoe capsized and was swept away in the fast-moving River Teifi in Llandysul.

His sister, Moira, has pledged to use her grief to help others after volunteering with Fixers, a charity which supports young people going through bereavement.

The 24-year-old, who is creating a booklet to help young people who have suffered the loss of a loved one, has been working with the charity for the last five months.

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Miss Hickson, who lives off Unthank Road, Norwich, said the pain of losing her brother had never left her. This week marked the 13th anniversary of his death.

'It felt like a hole in my life and I felt the ache more than anything else. It physically hurt. I find Christmases are very difficult for me and my family and although I think of him quite often, it is mostly around Christmas when I really miss him. I find it easier as time goes by, but anniversaries will always be as painful,' she said.

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Miss Hickson, who was 11-years-old when her brother died, hopes her Fixers project will help others come to terms with bereavement and will offer coping mechanisms, like creating a memory box.

'I wonder if my brother would have children now, have got married. I feel like he has missed out on all these things, but I'm sure he would be proud of everything I'm doing with Fixers. It have found it quite cathartic to go through my history with someone and they have all been so supportive and understanding,' she said.

Mr Hickson, a former Notre Dame High School pupil in Norwich, was a popular student and experienced canoeist. He was a talented musician - playing oboe and guitar - and was a member of the 6th Norwich Venture Scouts where he achieved the Queen's Scout Award.

Memorial trees were planted at Notre Dame High School and his university after his death.

A report about Miss Hickson's campaign will feature on ITV News Anglia from 6pm tonight.

Fixers has already supported over 10,000 young people and created over 1,000 projects since its formation in 2008. Now, thanks to a grant from the Big Lottery Fund, the charity aims to work with a further 19,000 young people over the next three years.

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