Queen attends reception for bereavement charity volunteers

The work of volunteers with one of the UK’s leading bereavement charities has been recognised at a reception attended by the Queen.

The reception at St James’s Palace in London on Monday commemorated the 60th anniversary of Cruse Bereavement Care.

The charity, of which the Queen is patron, offers free support, advice and information for bereaved adults, young adults and children.

Cruse Bereavement Care reception
The Queen met volunteers, including Marion Wilson (right), a volunteer for Hull and East Riding, Yorkshire (Yui Mok/PA)

The Queen wore a sea green and dove grey brocade cocktail dress and jacket with contrast silk bands by Angela Kelly, and the Nizam of Hyderabad diamond rose brooch to the reception.

She met people who have been instrumental in providing bereavement support following devastating events such as the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US and the Grenfell Tower fire in the UK.

Among them was Julie Ellison, who trained volunteers after the Grenfell Tower fire.

Ms Ellison, a retired police officer, said the Queen asked about her involvement in major disasters.

“She always brings an amazing aura with her,” Ms Ellison told the PA news agency after meeting the Queen.

The Queen, as Patron of Cruse Bereavement Care, helped celebrate the charity’s 60th Anniversary tonight at a reception held in St James’s Palace. @crusecare offers free bereavement support, advice and information through a network of nearly 5,000 volunteers. #CruseAt60pic.twitter.com/1GFTCHIlaq

— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) October 21, 2019

“People who are grieving appreciate her presence.”

Cruse Bereavement Care life president Colin Murray Parkes, 91, said he reminded the Queen of their previous meeting during the charity’s 25th anniversary celebration.

“I said she was the most important volunteer we had, and she smiled,” he said.

“She said time passes very quickly.”

Mr Murray Parkes helped set up a programme to support families from the UK whose loved ones were killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Cruse Bereavement Care 60th anniversary
The Queen met Colin Murray Parkes, Cruse Bereavement Care’s longest-serving volunteer (Yui Mok/PA)

Yolanda Clarke, who became a volunteer with the charity after the death of her parents and brother, said she was reminded of her mother during the meeting.

“The first thing I thought of was that she smelt like my mum, and my mum is why I got into this charity,” she said. “It was such a proud moment.”

The reception recognised the contribution made by volunteers, staff and supporters of the charity over the past 60 years.

The Queen was presented with a commemorative book which charted the charity’s development from a small support group for widows to a leading national charity.

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