History of The Compassionate Friends
The Compassionate Friends was founded in Coventry, England by Rev. Simon Stephens OBE, RN in 1969.
Rev Stephens was the Assistant to the Chaplain in the Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital. Many children died each year in the hospital as a result of accidents and illness.
After the coinciding deaths of two young boys at the hospital, their parents met by chance and a meaningful friendship developed. In their mutual grieving, they discovered that by listening to each other, by crying together if they felt like doing so, by understanding how each felt, their grief was lessened.
They, together with other bereaved parents in Coventry asked Rev. Stephens to work with them in the establishment of an organisation which could offer understanding, friendship, support and care to other bereaved parents.
Developed in England, The Compassionate Friends grew throughout the United Kingdom and other countries. Their first USA branch was organised in 1972; in Canada in 1977.
The first Australian branch commenced in Melbourne in May 1978, founded by Margaret and Lindsay Harmer.
The Brisbane Compassionate Friends Bereaved Parent Support and Information Centre was opened in 1985, and at present receives some Government funding, however we rely on tax deductible donations to continue reaching out to bereaved parents. For further information please see our listings under the Contact Us page.
In Australia, a network of chapters and bereaved persons who may be contacted has now been established.