REFLECTIONS ON JEREMIAH’S JOURNEY
I am a full-time primary school teacher, a volunteer with the Jeremiah’s Friends bereavement group programme and the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Jeremiah’s Journey. I became involved with the charity 21 years ago as the direct result of meeting Sheila Cassidy in the last few weeks before my first husband’s death. She was an amazing support through a very difficult period of my life and I felt that volunteering for Jeremiah’s Journey was a way of thanking her and giving something back. At that time, the charity consisted of the founders (Sheila Cassidy, Jacqui Stedmon, Ann Tucker and Di Maynard) and three other volunteers. We ran the group programmes on a shoestring but the strength of our collective desire to support bereaved children and their families carried us through!
Some of my fondest memories are of Sheila reading the story she created, at the beginning and end of each group programme. It seemed to change subtly on each reading but always contained elements of warm humour and the powerful message that those we have loved and lost will always be with us. It was a real pleasure to finally see this story published last year.
Reflecting on the past 21 years, Jeremiah’s Journey groups are always places of hope and inspiration. Yes, there are sometimes tears but there is also warmth and laughter in the shared memories of loved ones. The children’s groups can become delightfully messy but it always a pleasure to watch the weight of bereavement lift – if only for an hour or two – as the children begin to understand that it’s still OK to have fun despite the sadness in their lives.
From my first contact with Jeremiah’s Journey as a volunteer, to my longstanding role as a Trustee, I have made many friends and had the pleasure of seeing so many children, young people and their families remain in the Jeremiah’s Journey family; volunteering in the group programmes, offering support, attending events and raising funds to enable the charity to continue its work.
Jacqui Stedmon – Clinical Lead Trustee has been involved with Jeremiah’s Journey since it’s conception with Sheila Cassidy in 1996. Dr Jacqui Stedmon is an Associate Professor/ Programme Director, Doctorate Programme in Clinical Psychology at Plymouth University and brings a wealth of clinical knowledge and passion to the charity
David Reynolds has been a Trustee for more than a decade having been invited by friend and then Trustee, Mervyn Orchard. A champion for the charity, he joined after first hand experience in which he discovered Jeremiah’s Journey unique role in helping young people across the city. A former Royal Marine and Army officer, he was decorated by the Queen at Buckingham Palace in 2008 in respect of service in Afghanistan. On leaving the forces he spent four years on Plymouth City Council as a Councillor for Stoke Ward. Today, he is runs a multimedia company which covers the spectrum of creative publishing and design from books and brochures to training and media crisis management which takes him to Dubai and Ghana. He also lectures at a London university on the subject and directs two annual bespoke media courses.
Benjamin Shearn Is a father of two children Beula and Jago, who enjoys spending time on the water as well as walking and climbing, voluntary posts held; Legal board director of the Plymouth Waterfront Partnership, Member of the Plymouth Area Business Council, 11years as Chairman of the Association of Barbican Businesses and Trustee of Jeremiahs for the last 10years. Owned and operated many venues and businesses within the hospitality and events industry over the last 26years so on hand to assist with event planning as well as assisting with corporate networking.
Eric Cowsill has been involved with Jeremiah’s Journey since it was founded in 1996, becoming a member of the Board of Trustees about 10 years ago. He brings experience as a lawyer and as an independent financial advisor drawing on his practice, SWLaw, based at Lee Mill IVYBRIDGE.
Away from work, he enjoys a range of outdoor activities including walking with his Border Collie.
Ian Gordon became involved with JJ in 2012 when he spent a year raising money for a chosen charity, He saw the charity featured in a TV programme and it struck home as he had been in the situation of losing both parents when in his early 20’s and having two much younger siblings. Sadly at that time there was nothing to help their situation so when the opportunity came to help such a worthwhile cause he took it.
After he had finished raising funds in 2012, he had got to know the people working for the charity and so decided, along with his partner Wendy, to carry on and help out as and where we could. They have since then helped out the fundraising team in their efforts doing what they can to increase the profile of the charity including having an alter ego as Jeremiah himself at events and school visits etc.
Ian retired in 2018 and since then has helped out in the office a couple of days a week doing whatever I can to assist the team in their fundraising efforts.
He was asked to join the board of trustees in 2019 and said that it was an honour and privilege to do so.
Our Board will be sharing more with you regarding who they are and why they decided to become part of Jeremiah’s Journey. Please come back soon.