Local couple find love at bereavement support group

When Sally Rose met her partner Dave Ackroyd at a St Barnabas House bereavement support group, they already knew they had one thing in common. “Tragically, we had both lost the loves of our lives to cancer,” explains Sally, whose husband Tony Goldman died in 2015. Like Dave’s wife Karen, Tony received care from St Barnabas until the end of his life.

“We both thought that after their passing life couldn’t go on, that we were the only people who had ever mourned the loss of a loved one. We thought we would never climb out of the black holes that permanently engulfed us,” says Sally. “However, St Barnabas threw us both a lifeline when they told us about the hospice’s bereavement support group.

“Joining at separate times, we both attended full of trepidation about how the evening would go. We were surprised to find that we enjoyed it and met lots of people like us, who had lost loved ones and who, in time, became genuine friends.”

Three years later, Sally and Dave met at an extended support group. “We didn’t actually talk for some time, but when we did, we clicked and the rest, as they say, is history,” says Sally.
“Nobody will ever replace Karen or Tony, but we know the heart is a big organ that can hold different feelings for different people.”

Recently Dave decided to give something back by raising money for St Barnabas House, conquering his fear of falling by challenging himself to jump out of a plane 15,000 feet from the ground. He raised £2,050 for the hospice – and is now thinking about wing walking! “I’m so proud of him and I’m sure Karen and Tony were smiling down on him too,” says Sally.

“Grief and loss are the most horrible emotions you will feel in your life – they never completely go away,” she says. “However, thanks to the bereavement group we have made true friends, found laughter again and found each other.”

Dave and Sally joyfully laughing together

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