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Tuesday, 25 September, 2001, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
Counsellors' 'harrowing task'
World Trade Center rubble
Up to 300 Britons are feared to have died in the World Trade Center
Bereavement counsellors who have been comforting the families of Britons killed in the US terror strikes have spoken of the scale of their task.

Ten volunteers from Cruse Bereavement Care flew to the US immediately after the attacks.

Cruse president Colin Murray Parkes said: "This has been a particularly traumatic disaster.

"We have all cried with each other at some time during the past week and have been there to support one another."


We have all cried with each other at some time during the past week and have been there to support one another

Colin Murray Parkes
Cruse
Up to 300 Britons are feared to have died in the terror attacks on the World Trade Center on 11 September.

"It has been an enormous task for everyone involved," Mr Murray Parkes said.

"We have been offering emotional aid and advice on how to deal with people's natural and quite justifiable anger.

'In denial'

"Many people we spoke with were in denial and unable to accept their loved ones were dead and not just missing."

The first team of Cruse volunteers returned to the UK on Tuesday. A second team arrived on Sunday to continue the care.

Team leader Dr Arthur O'Hara, a consultant psychiatrist, said: "Many of the relatives are still in shock and have not yet reached a point where they are ready to move forward in the process of grieving.

"Returning home and coming to terms with the finality of their loss will be very difficult for them for weeks, months and years to come."


Returning home and coming to terms with the finality of their loss will be very difficult for them for weeks, months and years to come

Dr Arthur O'Hara
Cruse
The volunteers, who come from throughout the UK, stayed in the same hotel as grieving British families.

They said none of them had expressed any desire for revenge.

The volunteers, who trained in traumatic bereavement, were on hand 24 hours a day to help the hundreds of mourners.

They have previously helped comfort families after the Omagh bombing and Hillsborough, Zeebrugge, Bradford and King's Cross disasters.

"Cruse will continue to offer support as they try to make sense of their loss and find a way through their grief," Dr O'Hara said.

He concluded: "Aside from the Cruse support, the bereaved have derived an enormous amount of comfort from the people of New York, who share the weight of their sadness while being extremely supportive, welcoming and positive about the future."

The Cruse Bereavement Care Helpline is on 0870 167 1677.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Dr Colin Murray Parks, Cruse Bereavement Care
explains what he considers the role of a counsellor to be

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See also:

20 Sep 01 | Europe
Blair bolsters US campaign
20 Sep 01 | Americas
We share grief, Blair tells America
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