Members of the ‘Rainbows Family’ – Rainbows Bereavement Support GB – from all over Great Britain gathered in the Convent of Mercy in Oldham on 21 March to mark the twenty fifth year of service to children and young people grieving a significant and often devastating loss in their lives.

  From its initial beginnings in 1992, ‘Rainbows’ has become a greatly respected national charity, supporting children and young people in over 1,260 schools, in addition to offering high quality training in bereavement and loss to all schools throughout the country.

  This particular celebration focussed on the support the charity has received for all of its 25 years from so many individual people, religious communities and charity funding bodies.

Rainbows celebration cake

  In thanking so many, many people for their support and generous donations over the years, Frank McDermott, the current Chair of Trustees, acknowledged the unique contribution made by members of The Institute of Our Lady of Mercy, better known as the Mercy Sisters.

Bishop Ralph and Sr Philippa, a Mercy Sister and a Trustee of Rainbows GB

  Part of the day of celebration included a sung Mass of Thanksgiving celebrated by Bishop Ralph.  Bishop Ralph is also Chairman of Rainbows South Yorkshire, where 127 schools operate the Rainbows programmes, including most of the fifty five Catholic schools in the region.

  Frank and Sue McDermott have been involved with Rainbows since 1992.  They are delighted with the growth of the charity both in South Yorkshire and across Great Britain. After seven years as National Director of Rainbows, Sue remains very actively involved as Non-Executive Director and Trustee.  She is delighted that Rainbows South Yorkshire continues to support so many grieving children and young people in so many different schools and commented, “Both Sandra and Sadia, our two Development Workers, offer tremendous support across the whole region and, through their work, enable many children and young people to be better able to cope with significant loss in their lives.  They are both highly thought of in schools and give much practical support and advice.”

  Many words of thanks and encouragement have been received from all over the country marking the Silver Jubilee.  Cardinal Vincent Nichols, leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, sent the following words of affirmation,  “It is a huge achievement to have completed twenty five years’ service to grieving children and young people.  The support you offer matters so much and makes a real difference.  As you gather today, I offer you my sincere congratulations, good wishes and prayers.”

  “I thank all those who have contributed to the ministry of Rainbows over the years: trustees, managers, staff and volunteers all over the country.  Without them, and without others who have worked behind the scenes, especially members of ‘The Institute of Our Lady of Mercy’, it is unlikely that this silver jubilee would have been reached.

  Cardinal Vincent Nichols concluded, “May God bless you all.  And may the ministry of Rainbows continue to thrive, bringing those who grieve to a deeper awareness of the merciful, gentle compassion of God.”

Further information about Rainbows GB and how to donate to the charity may be found on the website: http//:www.rainbowsgb.org.

  To contact Sandra and Sadia at Rainbows South Yorkshire please email: rainbowssy@hallam-diocese.com.