A WOMAN who experienced her own devastating loss is now showing grieving Somerset residents that they are not alone.

2wish, a bereavement charity set up by Rhian Mannings MBE in 2012, supports families impacted by the sudden and unexpected death of a child or young person aged 25 or under.

Originally based in Wales, the charity has recently expanded into Somerset, as well as Bristol, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire and Cheshire.

Somerset County Gazette: Rhian with her two other children, Holly and Isaac.Rhian with her two other children, Holly and Isaac. (Image: Front Door Communications)

Last month (Tuesday, February 27), a launch event was held in Taunton's Queen's College to celebrate the expansion.

The charity holds a special place in founder Rhian's heart. After meeting her husband Paul in Queen's College, Rhian moved to Cardiff where she had three children, Holly, Isaac and George.

Tragically, George became very suddenly ill.

Rhian said: "George fell ill very suddenly at home and was rushed to the local hospital.

"Within a couple of hours of being admitted he passed away.

"The staff were amazing in the hospital, but it became clear very quickly that they weren't equipped to support families who were bereaved suddenly.

"There was nowhere for us to sit while we were waiting for news on George or after he passed away.

"We were given his handprints and blots of his hair which were given to us in a plain white envelope.

"We were left to go home with a piece of paper with phone numbers on, some of them were out of date whilst others never got back to us.

"We were left very much as a family to deal with it on our own.

"This really surprised me, when you have children you are given all this support but when one passes away you are left very much on your own."

Somerset County Gazette: Rhian set up the charity to help fill a gap in support services.Rhian set up the charity to help fill a gap in support services. (Image: Front Door Communications)

Sadly, only five days after George died, Paul took his own life.

Rhian explained that the charity aims to support everyone impacted by the loss of a child or young person, including siblings, grandparents, teachers, friends and more, as well as the wider community. 

Rhian said that, often, local communities can be shaken by the loss of a child. 

Rhian added: "Every loss is heartbreaking. Communities can be small, sometimes we know the families involved.

"Sometimes these incidents involve multiple children. We had an incident recently in Wales where three young boys were killed in the road traffic accident, that's really difficult when it impacts so many people.

"We don't put a time limit on grief.

"We just want to help as many people as possible."

Rhian hopes that in the coming years the charity can expand even further, to hopefully cover Cornwall, Devon and more.