- Volunteer's name: Edel Campbell
- Current role: Befriender at Cookstown Sands
Edel has taken part in the Belfast Marathon for Sands and also competed in and rallied a support team for SandsNI at the Blood, Sweat & Tears extreme mud run and the Cookstown half marathon. Edel gently supports and encourages parents at Cookstown Sands and provides advice and practical support to parents who want to fundraise for Sands.
Steven Guy, Northern Ireland Network Coordinator for Sands, said: “Edel Campbell has been a Befriender for around 8 years now and, along with a friend, started Cookstown Sands group. Edel is quiet and unassuming but is always willing to help wherever and whenever she can and most recently rallied a team of 16 volunteers to help with the RAMPAGE weekend 27th & 28th April 2018.
Edel said: I am absolutely delighted to hear I have been nominated for an award. I was not expecting this at all. I first became involved with Sands 12 years ago, after we lost our first-born son Conan at 2 days’ old (born at 28 weeks).
I started to go to my local Sands group; at that time it was Portadown, which was 25 miles from me. On that first night I met Steven and Jacqui and I got so much out of attending the group that night, I continued to travel each month. I felt normal here and met some great friends. After about 18 months attending, it became very natural for me to want to get more involved with Sands, I wanted to give something back, so I signed up for the befriender training. On completing my training I then looked into starting a group closer to home as unfortunately it was needed in that area. So myself and Ann (another bereaved mum) after finding suitable premises started the Cookstown support group. And we're still going today.
Over the years, I have taken part in many events and organised fundraising events for the charity and to be honest this has kept me going. Because Conan never got the chance to do a marathon or a mud run I did these events on his behalf.
Everything I do for Sands, I’m doing for my son and it keeps his memory alive. So for me this is not my award, it's Conan's.
Edel has been nominated as part of 40 volunteers for #Sands40. Join them at Sands 40th Anniversary Conference on 17th November 2018 in Glasgow.
Sands is marking its 40th anniversary this year and we would like to say thank you for the incredible support and contribution that our dedicated volunteers make across the UK to support bereaved parents and anyone affected by the death of a baby.
We will be hosting an awards ceremony during the Sands 40th Anniversary Conference to celebrate the wide range of volunteering involvement in Sands and acknowledge 40 volunteers for their dedication and commitment.