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Last Updated: Friday, 9 July, 2004, 07:14 GMT 08:14 UK
Holly's father speaks of grief
Kevin Wells
Kevin Wells is now the patron of children's charity Grief Encounter
The father of murdered Soham schoolgirl Holly Wells has become the patron of a charity supporting grieving children.

Kevin Wells, who still lives in Soham, Cambridgeshire, said he could have cried with "joy and relief" after seeing the work of Grief Encounter.

He has written a foreword to the charity's new book launched on Thursday night, at Camden Arts Centre, London.

He spoke of the impact Holly's death had on his family and how reading the book in proof form had helped them.

Kevin Wells was the main speaker at the launch of the new book and spoke of the dark days after Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman's bodies had been found.

He said: "Away from the sensational headlines, in the middle sat my family, trying to cope with the worst parental nightmare; that of losing a child.

"For Nicola and me our immediate concerns were and still are the well-being of our then-12-year-old son, Oliver.

"For us, the process became a matter of trial and error as the lack of concrete guidance in black and white became glaring by its omission."

He said once he had read the book, he knew it would provide practical help in addressing the well-being of surviving children.

"I read the proof workbook. I could have wept tears of joy and relief," said Mr Wells.

Holly, together with her friend Jessica Chapman, was murdered by school caretaker Ian Huntley in August 2002.

In the foreword to the new book, Mr Wells writes: "For two families, losing their precious daughters under such horrendous circumstances meant a life-changing event would have to be embraced in the most public of arenas.

"Away from the banner headlines the real task of coping with shock, anger, confusion and loss edged ever nearer as the grieving process announced its uninvited arrival.

"The dawning reality of never seeing, touching or hearing our daughter Holly again, would prove the most difficult task."

ChildLine's founder and chair Esther Rantzen, who attended the event, said: "We brought out a report recently because we were getting so many phone calls from children who had lost members of their family or close friends.

"What we found is that children try and protect their own parents in a situation like that and feel very uncomfortable about asking questions or even about revealing their own sorrow."

Kevin Wells
"I could have done with this workbook during my personal times of trouble"

Diary published to help bereaved
25 Jun 04  |  Hereford/Worcs

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