Losing a parent is hard at whatever age ... but to be robbed of your beloved dad at just two and three is a blow few of us have to endure.
But tragically, that is exactly what happened in April 2015 and Oscar and Nancy Whales, of Ashwicken.
However, along with their mum, Nicola, the children are planning to embark on Saturday a memorial walk organised by local charity Nelson’s Journey, called Smiles at Sandringham. in memory of their dead father, Mark, 46.
They will join other families who have also been bereaved, to remember Mark’s life and walk in his memory.
The Whales family were referred to Nelson’s Journey, Norfolk’s child bereavement charity, and have received support both at the charity’s support space at the Norfolk Hospice, Tapping House, at home in Ashwicken and at their school and nursery.
Nicola said: “Oscar and Nancy lost their special daddy in April 2015. Dealing with our grief is extremely difficult, so we got in touch with Nelson’s Journey.
“We continue to receive support from them now, they are an amazing children’s bereavement charity.
“Nelson’s Journey offer none to one support, activity days, therapeutic weekends, helpful resources and so much more, which has been so beneficial to my children and me.
“We wanted to do something positive to commemorate Mark’s life and encourage others to come and walk in memory of someone special.
“Myself, Oscar, Nancy and lots of our lovely family and friends will be doing the walk at the ‘Smiles at Sandringham’ event on June 11 to raise money for Nelson’s Journey, and remember Mark.
“We would love lots of other families to join us on this special day.”
This is the first time Nelson’s Journey have held a memorial walk in the west of the county, with Bespak sponsoring the event, and Sandringham Country Park allowing the walk to be held without charge.
The walk, which takes place from 10am-2pm on Saturday, has a 2½ and mile route up around the country park. It will allow families who have experienced the death of a loved one to come together and walk in their memory.
Gena Moore, organiser of Smiles at Sandringham said: “It is great that we are able to hold our special walk in the grounds of Sandringham Country Park for the first time.
“Our memorial walks are always respectful and poignant, this year we have local mosaic artist Carolyn Ash coming to make memory stones with the children that they can decorate for their special person.
“The stones will be a nice, tactile way to remember the person who died and will be there to provide comfort when they are finding their bereavement difficult to cope with.
“This event is very important for us to keep in touch with families we have supported in the past, and welcome new families, like the Whales’, who are coming to walk in memory for the first time.
“After the walk, we have a lovely afternoon filled with fun games, face painting and activities for all ages, along with a chance to make some items to remember the person or people who died. There is a lovely atmosphere of togetherness at the event and we look forward the Whales’ and their friends and family being a part of it this year to remember Mark.
“We are so grateful to the Whales’ family for fundraising as part of their walk this year – they have already raised over £565 which is enough to send two children on one of our therapeutic residential weekends at Hilltop Outdoor Centre, near Sheringham. It’s wonderful that they are helping other families, who are dealing with bereavement, to get support, just like they are.”
To register to take part in Smiles at Sandringham, which is open to everyone, not just those supported by Nelson’s Journey, visit www.nelsonsjourney.org.uk/memorial-walk-registration.aspx. Registration is £2 per person, with under-fives free.
To support Nicola, Oscar and Nancy’s fundraising page visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/oscarandnancy