Ed, Website Working Group Volunteer

Leicester member Ed Spooner served as a WAY trustee from 2016 - 2018 offering advice and support to WAY as an IT consultant and photographer at WAY events.

As well ad being an admin of the WAYers without children (WAYwoc) Facebook group and chief ring leader for #TeamEd in our annual Dragon Boat Race challenge, Ed volunteers as a member of our Website Working Group.

Ed was named the winner of our 2019 Mandy Burrows Award for his outstanding contribution to WAY.


"I lost my wife Heather in October 2011. We found out that she had stage 4 bowel cancer just a few weeks after our wedding in August 2009.

Trying to find some meaning/support for what had happened I searched Google and found WAY. Back then the charity only had a basic website and I didn’t feel convinced by its request for a membership fee.

Instead I ploughed my energy into supporting the bowel cancer charities. This helped me make some sense of losing Heather by helping others who were struggling with the disease. Like WAY, its strength is in its peer-to-peer support network and I made a good number of friends (including WAY trustee Stuart Scarbrough), who I still keep in touch with today.

After two years of supporting bowel cancer charities, I had to pull away. The grim truth was I was making good friends, but all too often I was having to say goodbye to them too when the disease took them away.

It was two years after Heather died that I sought out WAY again. The website had improved by then and I was ready to trust WAY with my membership fee! ...I wish I had done it sooner."

Joining WAY

"I joined WAY over Christmas 2013/2014 and I went along to the second WAYwocs event soon after that. I met people there who are still friends and who are still in WAY today

In both WAY and WAYWocs I’m surrounded by people who just “get it” without any of the head tilts or “aww, you’ll find somebody else soon”. It is priceless to be able to share time with friends who do know what to say and aren’t afraid to ask how you’re feeling or about your late partner.

I remember hugging WAY founder Caroline Sarll soon after she had told the story of how WAY was created at the Stratford Upon Avon AGM in 2017. “You saved me,” I told her, because I truly believe the charity has helped me survive my grief and work my way through it."


"I got asked to become a trustee in 2016, in part to help add some IT knowledge to the board (in my day job, I work as a web developer and build e-commerce websites). Following my time as a Trustee for WAY, I have continued supporting the charity’s IT developments by volunteering as a member of WAY’s Website Working Group.  It feels good to be able to use my professional knowledge to support a charity which means so much to so many.

I volunteer for WAY not for the recognition but because I remember how cruel, lonely and painful losing your partner can be and if I can make somebody else’s journey that little bit easier then that’s enough thanks for me. 

"Every single WAYer is helping another one just by being a member, going to events, replying to a post or offering a shoulder to cry on."

Just arranging a coffee meet or a simple meal out can make such a difference compared to the 10/15 minutes it takes to organise. I’ve found volunteering for WAY always gives back more than you put in."

If you would like to find out more about volunteering for WAY, please email Veronica here.