Published Thursday 27th April 2017

A group of young people are giving up their time to help others their age who have been bereaved.

The Hospice Champions, many of whom have been supported by St Michael’s, are ambassadors for the Children and Young People’s Service at the Hospice in Bartestree.

One of the group, 19-year-old Olly Jones, was supported by the Hospice after his mother, Geraldine, who worked at St Michael’s, died following a horse riding accident on a beach in South Wales.

‘It was hard for me at first, but having someone to talk to helped so much, particularly talking to someone who won’t judge you,’ he said.

The care and understanding Olly received inspired him to be part of the young person’s group.

‘I want to give something back, so I became a Hospice Champion,’ he said.

‘It’s helped my brother and I a lot, especially meeting others who have had similar experiences.’

In August Olly, who has already taken part in fundraising events for St Michael’s, embarks on the biggest adventure of his life.

He will fly to Canada before joining a fundraising crew making the transatlantic sailing voyage from Nova-Scotia to Le Havre in France.

He will be away from home for just over a month, stopping at ports along the way, although there is a three-week stretch when he is continuously on the water.

‘It’ll be the first time I’ve been to Canada. I’ve done three English Channel crossings before, and I also sailed from Spain last year which was really good fun,’ Olly added.

‘I am a bit apprehensive.

‘I’ve never spent more than a couple of days at sea, so it will be testing.’

The venture is part of the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Race from the UK to Portugal, across the Atlantic to Bermuda, the US, Canada and back across the Atlantic to France.

Olly will tackle Leg Five.

‘I’ve always loved sailing and I’ve been doing it for four years now,’ he said. ‘I just thought it would be a brilliant achievement.’

The voyage is part of the Rona Sailing Project which takes young people to sea with the aim of teaching them the attributes of seamen.

Olly has raised £450 so far for the Sailing Project, with his target £900.

On his return, Olly is planning to continue fundraising for the Hospice and to help provide other young people with the same and much-needed support he received after the death of a loved one.

All the money Olly raises on his Atlantic venture will be split between St Michael’s and Rona.

‘Olly’s experience is one that continues to inspire me,’ said Emma Speedy, social worker with Hope at St Michael’s, which offers youth sessions and activities to children and young people who have been told a loved one has a life-threatening illness.

‘His voyage embodies the very challenge that all children and young people experiencing bereavement face.’

You can donate to him here