Journalist Caroline Sarll started WAY in 1997 after her sister Mandy was widowed at the age of 35. It was a double blow for both Caroline and her sister, because it was the 25th anniversary of their own father’s death.
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. WAY started out small. The first meeting in Cardiff in 1997 attracted about 30 people. Today, WAY has members from northern Scotland to Devon and Cornwall and from Wales to Northern Ireland - with more than 3,500 people benefiting from the support it offers.
“I have watched the Foundation grow steadily to become the respected charity that it is today,” says Caroline. “I am deeply grateful to all volunteers who have worked so tirelessly over the years to ensure WAY’s continuity.”
Caroline recently raised more than £800 for WAY by cycling 26 miles from her home town of Porthcawl to the hotel in Cardiff where the first WAY meeting was held.