Made a Mark memory boxes helping bereaved children


Over the last 12 months, 129 memory boxes have been supplied to support children who lose a parent or sibling at Southmead Hospital.

Made a Mark Charity, which provides the boxes to North Bristol NHS Trust thanks to donations by our supporters, was set up by NBT staff member Keri Vickery following the death of her husband Mark at Southmead Hospital in 2018.

Realising that there was no specialist bereavement support for her two young children Casey and Parker, aged four and two at the time, Keri decided to act.

“My personal experience helped me take a closer look at what the organisation offered to support children who were bereaved, and the answer was nothing. This is true of hospitals, hospices, and organisations across the country.

“This is why Made a Mark was born – to offer initial supporting materials, signposting and memory making opportunities for children and families facing the death of a parent or sibling.”

What the memory boxes contain

Available for three different age ranges, including 0-4 years, 5-12 years, and 13+ years, the boxes contain:

  • A book for the supporting care giver offering initial advice on how to support the children
  • A book for the children about dealing with death and loss
  • A journal to encourage children to express their feelings
  • Hand print and hair lock kits to capture precious memories of the loved one who has died
  • A pair of matching Jelly Cat soft toys – one for the child, and one to remain with the person who has died to create an everlasting bond
  • A Good Grief card signposting to organisations that can provide ongoing support

On the front of the box is a photo frame. Children can add to the memory boxes over time to make them their own.

Each box costs on average £40. These costs are supported by donations direct to the Made a Mark Charity and, in the case of the boxes for North Bristol NHS Trust, by donations from Southmead Hospital Charity supporters.

How Made a Mark has grown

Made a Mark Charity initially supplied a few memory boxes to Southmead Hospital towards the end of 2018. It has since gone on to work with over 100 different teams across England. This includes acute hospitals, NHS Blood and Transplant teams, hospices, funeral directors, primary care teams, and a prison.

“As word has spread about our work, the demand has increased. We supplied 743 boxes in 2021 and that jumped to 1,257 boxes in 2022. The teams we work with are based all over the country including locally here in Bristol and Bath, all the way to Newcastle Upon Tyne NHS Trust, QEH Birmingham, and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals.”

Alongside her work with the charity, Keri has continued her career at North Bristol NHS Trust. She moved first into palliative care nursing and now into her role as Motor Neurone Disease Care Centre Coordinator.

“In my new role I remain passionate about helping patients living with terminal illness and also supporting young families who are affected by the disease.”

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