Stars available to remember loved ones this Christmas

Jane Holden in Co-op Fratton

Reflect with others and be kind to yourself – two important wellbeing messages being shared by a regional bereavement care service as we approach Christmas.

Bereavement Care, which is a free service offered by Southern Co-op, is working with local funeral branches to provide support for people who are struggling with the loss of loved ones.

The branches are also offering everyone the chance to place a star on their trees this Christmas. Messages and memories can be written on the stars which are available for free in all Southern Co-op funeralcare branches.

Should people wish to make a donation, the branches are raising money for Cash for Kids – Mission Christmas where it will be used to purchase gifts for children and go towards supporting disadvantaged children in local communities next year.

Janet Quintavalle, Bereavement Care Co-ordinator, said: “We often see happy faces everywhere at this time of year, it’s almost impossible to escape the festive season. But for people who are grieving this can cause feelings of isolation and loneliness.

“Normally Christmas is a time to make memories with those closest to us so it can be difficult to come to terms with the thought that this will not be possible. The stars are a way to honour memories of loved ones that will not be here this Christmas leaving a personal tribute.

“Most importantly, be kind to yourself, your wellbeing is important. Let family and friends know you are struggling, take support if offered or just take time to reflect with others who understand. Being open and honest can help people help you do things differently to lessen the pain.”

Locations where the trees and stars will be available include The Co-operative Funeralcare in Alton, Andover, Ash Vale, Aylesbury, Basingstoke, Bedhampton, Bishops Waltham, Bognor Regis/Rose Green, Bracknell, Brighton, Chichester, Cosham, Cowplain, East Cowes, Emsworth, Fareham, Findon, Farnborough, Felpham, Fleet, Freshwater, Frimley Green, Frome, Gillingham, Goring, Gosport, Havant/Leigh Park, Hayling Island, Hazlemere, High Wycombe, Hove, Lake/Sandown, Liss, Newport, Peacehaven, Portsmouth (Copnor, Eastney, Fratton, North End, Paulsgrove, Rowner), Ryde, Shaftesbury, Shanklin, Shoreham by Sea, Sturminster Newton, Uckfield, Warminster, Waterlooville, Wendover, Whitchurch, Widley and Worthing.

Trees will also be located at crematoria and burial grounds run by Southern Co-op including The Oaks Crematorium Havant, East Devon Crematorium, Mayfields Woodland Burial Ground, Hinton Park Woodland Burial Ground, and Poole & Wimborne Woodland Burial Ground.

To leave a memorial message or donation online, visit Or to find details of a local branch taking part, visit

Information on free bereavement support is available on