A MOTHER who lost her son after he tragically drowned wants to raise awareness of a bereavement charity which has helped her cope with the most traumatic event of her life.
Florist Christina Ford, of Beechway, Bexley lost her beloved son Adam Hunt when he was just 19 on July 1 2007 when he was away for the summer in Greece.
Adam, who had been working as a bar rep, had only been in Zante for six weeks when Christina got the call that every parent dreads, that her son had died.
After a year of counselling Christina got in touch with charity The Compassionate Friends which is an organisation run by bereaved parents and siblings for others in the same situation.
The 56-year-old, who is now the Bexley borough contact and wants to raise its profile, said: "In the first year following Adam's death I felt like I was frozen and didn't want to believe that he had gone.
"That's the way your mind reacts, trying to protect yourself from the extreme pain.
"It took me a year to get back to some kind of normality, a new normal, to look after my other children and try and go back to work.
"I just felt so isolated in that kind of loss and nobody else knows what you are going through unless you have experienced it.
"I had a year of counselling after Adam died and it really helped me to just talk to someone and let out the feelings and hurt.
"I then turned to the charity because I felt I needed to be in touch with others in a similar situation."
"The charity does not offer counselling but it is somewhere for bereaved parents and siblings to talk to others similarly bereaved, who have gone through the same ordeal.
"I needed to know that there was light at the end of the tunnel and that you can get back to some kind of normality.
"The first year was the hardest by far for me and with the help of people at the charity I have been able to find some kind of normality."
Adam, who was a pupil at Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School in Hurst Road, was a gifted sportsman who captained his school's most successful rugby 1st XV and was also the first boy to appear, at the age of three, in a Fairy Liquid advert.
He had applied to join the army before he went Zante and tragically Christina got a letter confirming his place after he passed away.
Christina, who also works part-time at Bexley Council, added: "The charity has really helped, I don't think I could have managed without it and the friends I have made by joining TCF. "We are not councillors but just there for bereaved parents and siblings who need support"
TCF have also recently made a short film called Say Their Name which can be viewed on their website, and may be of help not only to bereaved families but also to friends and bereavement counsellors."
The charity offers a variety of services including helplines, legal support, websites and forums, weekend gatherings, sibling support and local contacts and groups.
For more information call 0845 123 2304 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or log onto www.tcf.org.uk