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CHARITY workers who provide counselling to bereaved people have spoken of their joy after winning an award.

The Bereavement Counselling Charity, which provides free counselling in Havant and East Hampshire, was named Charity of the Year at the Life in Petersfield awards.

The award was presented at the Petersfield’s Festival Hall.

Karen Betancourt-Jess, consultant director, said: ‘This is amazing publicity for our small charity, as we are desperately in need of supporters and funds to expand.

‘The demand for our “free of charge” counselling locally is more than we can cope with and we need funds to recruit and train more counsellors.

‘Our work is funded purely through donations and we hope that the publicity generated by this award will encourage the general public to make donations or put on fundraising events for us.’

The charity is now the only local provider of bereavement counselling that is not connected to a hospice or illness group.

The referrals come from GPs, schools, social services, other charities and self referrals.

Mrs Betancourt-Jess said clients might be a child whose parent has died in a car crash, a teenager whose sibling has died in tragic circumstances or a mother who has lost her son through suicide.

Formerly known as Havant Area Bereavement Group, the charity also won the Queens Award for Services in the Community in 2003.

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