Our Story

Caroline Sarll started WAY in 1997 after her sister Amanda was widowed at the age of 35. 

Caroline and Amanda

Caroline and Amanda

Caroline remembered only too well how hard it had been for her mother, a young widow in the late 1960s, trying to bring up two small girls on her own. She began to do some research into what help might be available for her sister. What she found shocked her. Twenty five years after their father had died, there were still no organisations offering specific support to young bereaved widows and widowers.

So Caroline decided to set up her own group in South Wales and the WAY Foundation was born. 

The first meeting in Cardiff in 1997 attracted about 30 people.

“I was adamant that WAY’s focus would be on those widowed young helping others in the same position. I felt you had to have gone through an untimely loss to understand and have compassion for those experiencing the same. Quite simply, to be able to say: ‘I know’.”

WAY's founder Caroline Sarll

Why a swan?

A true creature of beauty, a swan looks calm on the surface, despite paddling furiously below to stay afloat.

This symbolises how it can feel to grieve the loss of a loved one. 

As the welcome to WAY states, ‘we’re sorry you are eligible to join, but we’re glad that you found us’.

This is as true today as it was 25 years ago and we have so many plans to reach more young widowed people in the future who may be in need of support.