Symbolic release of doves in memory of the community’s loved ones.

Wed, 26 November 2014

Despite the rain hundreds of people gathered outside St Albans Cathedral, on Sunday, 23rd November 2014, to watch as a flock of doves were released to make the symbolic journey homeward.

Amongst the crowd an array of yellow umbrellas, carrying the Network’s new “Bereavement Matters” branding helped to brighten the grey afternoon.

Inside the Cathedral, Chair of the St Albans & District Bereavement Network the Right Reverend John Gladwin, warmly welcomed the congregation to the 7th Annual Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving organised in partnership with the Cathedral’s Ecumenical Chaplaincy.

The Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire – Mr J Stuart Lewis, Deputy Mayor of St Albans – Councillor Janet Churchard, her consort Councillor Geoffrey Churchard and Councillor Julian Daly joined with families, children, adults and young people who filled the Cathedral to remember loved ones. The Bereavement Network’s co-founders Dr Mary Groves-Rowe MBE and Reverend Colin Rowe were also in attendance.

Canon Richard Watson, the Sub Dean at St Albans Cathedral, led the service. The Cathedral was filled with the melodious voices of the St Albans Abbey Girls Choir conducted by Tom Winpenny.

Client contributions added a real poignancy to the service. Sue Griffiths, spoke movingly about her personal loss and read a touching poem “My Parents Kept A Garden”. Samantha Ford, Assistant Administrator for the Network read a personal reflection on behalf of former client, Sue Mullis.

During the service paper doves with personal messages were placed on remembrance trees either side of the main altar. The congregation lit candles in memory of their loved ones. The Right Reverend John Gladwin commented that “the glow of hundreds of candles together in the fading light of the afternoon signifies that there is hope even in our darkest times and coming together to remember with others reminds us we are not alone in grief.”

If you would like to support the St Albans & District Bereavement Network our website gives details of upcoming events and other ways to help raise funds or give us a call on 01727 841914.

For more information about our services, or if you would like to talk to someone about the loss of a loved one, please contact our Helpline on 01727 841841 or email:

Notes for editors: 

Bereavement is a part of lifeand the St Albans & District Bereavement Network has been providing support to bereaved children, young people, adults and their families living in St Albans City and District for more than twelve years. Our network of specially trained volunteers and qualified counsellors have helped more than 3,000 people cope with their grief, make sense of their loss, and move forward with hope. The consequences of the death of a close relative are huge for everyone, particularly for children, whose lives may be totally disrupted. Each year we support an average 160 adults, children and young people. Services are provided free of charge however we are dependent on grants, legacies and voluntary donations to be able to continue to support the bereaved in our local community.

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