A charity launched in the name of a teenager who died in a music festival is looking to raise funds to help other families hit by tragedy.
Megan’s Rainbow Support Group has been set up by Megan Bell’s grandmother Jenny and other family members to help families access bereavement counselling closer to home.
The former St Anthony’s Catholic Girls’ Academy student was at T in the Park festival in Scotland in July when she died.
Now, the charity will also run a fund to help families cover the cost of children’s funerals and other expenses.
It comes after the family of 17-year-old Megan, from Seaham, were determined to thank the efforts of those in the local community who rallied round to help when they were faced with their sudden loss.
Megan had been due to become an apprentice hairdresser as she worked towards fulfilling her dream of running her own business.
The aim is to help people like they helped us, and if Megan was here that’s what she would do.Chris Bell
The fund to help families faced with a sudden their loss is being supported by family friends Laura Ward and Gillian Graham, who rallied round to support the Bell family after Megan died by staging a balloon launch and candlelit vigil, fundraising night and a family fun day in Megan’s memory.
An entertainment night on Saturday, April 1, at Dawdon Welfare Club will be followed by a day of live music, Music for Megan, on the Terrace Green on Saturday, June 10.
Laura said: “There will be help for bereavement counselling, but families also have to look at funeral costs, because we feel there needs to be this help.
“If people who have lost children come to us we will look at how we can help them.
“We will have these two events to raise funds to start up the fund.”
Megan’s dad Chris, 44, a car transporter driver who along with Lisa, 41, is also dad to Jenny, eight, and Maddy, 10, and brother Josh, 12.
He said: “The aim is to help people like they helped us and if Megan was here, that’s what she would do.
“It’s also to thank the people of Seaham and the surrounding areas because the support we got from them was unbelievable.
“We found ourselves in a situation we never thought we would, so if we can help people to deal with the unexpected, we will.
“It will work as two branches, because there isn’t the bereavement counselling needed in East Durham, and then it will help with funeral costs, or a headstone, if that’s what they need.
“We’re part of a big community and everybody, family and friends, got together money, but there’s no help there from the Government, or very little, and this is trying to help.”
The counselling section of the support group, which is being led by Seaham and County Councillor Jenny Bell, aims to give people access to support through one-to-one or group sessions in East Durham, as the nearest the Bells could access was in Hartlepool, while it is hoped volunteers can be trained up to offer a listening ear to grieving relatives.
The entertainment night will feature a raffle, JJ’s Disco and live band Crisis North East.
The line up for Music for Megan will include a Beyonce tribute act and will run from 1om to 11pm.
A charity football match will be held on Saturday, June 3, and will feature former Sunderland AFC players as well as boxers and mixed martial artists.
Anyone who would like to support the events can contact Laura via firstname.lastname@example.org.