Tragic mum Lucy Herd campaigns for bereaved parentsBy Hugh Fort
January 18, 2012
A mum from Owlsmoor who tragically lost her son has begun a campaign she hopes to take to Westminster asking for an increase in paid leave for people who have suffered a bereavement.
Lucy Herd, 36, was living in Cumbria when her son Jack, who was nearly two, drowned after falling into the garden pond. The traumatising event happened in 2010 and, after Jack’s death, Lucy discovered that as a bereaved parent the toddler’s father could take just three days paid leave off work – one of which had to be for the funeral. Any additional time was to be taken as either sick leave or holiday.
Lucy, who has two children, was stunned when she found this out and has since launched a campaign in the hope that employers will give people more time to grieve the loss of their loved ones.
She has started an online petition and is hoping to get 100,000 signatures which could lead to the issue being debated in Parliament.
She said: “My vision is to have the bereavement leave entitlement increased to as much as 12 weeks and for employees to be able to return to work when they are ready.
“Losing a loved one is a devastating and life-changing event which completely turns your world upside down.
“People manage their grief and stress in different ways.
“Some need the focus of work to keep them going whereas for others the pressure and emotional turmoil they experience makes working extremely difficult. And yet the income is needed as bills still have to be paid.”
Just days after Jack’s funeral, Lucy’s then-partner had to return to work, which put a lot of strain on Lucy and their relationship.
She had to cope with the grief of losing her child as well the stress of managing a household and looking after her other two children. Eventually, the strain caused a breakdown in their relationship and Lucy returned to Berkshire with her children to be closer to family.
Lucy added: “I recently discovered through friends living outside the UK that other parts of the world, including Australia, parts of Europe and Canada, have a similar bereavement policy to ours, so I’m currently in discussions with a Canadian TV and radio station to set up a petition to help drive a change there too.”
To sign the UK petition visit http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/3521.
Lucy has also set up a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/#!/JacksRainbow.