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Bereaved women urged to join networking group
Women whose husbands have died are being encouraged to join a networking group to make new friendships with people who can understand the difficulties of coping with their loss.
The Jolly Dollies is an organisation founded by widows, for widows, who are looking to regain a social life through friendship and social events.
Founder Yvonne Vann said: “Often after the loss of our partner in life, it is very difficult to know where to start when we are trying to return to social situations.”
Mrs Vann experienced that feeling when she lost her husband six years ago. She said although friends who were in couples were sympathetic, she often felt like the odd one out.
Janine Ashdown, from Micklethwaite, Bingley, lost her husband, Simon, to skin cancer in December and joined Jolly Dollies about eight months ago.
“I joined it because I felt I should do something and be a bit more proactive,“ Mrs Ashdown said.
Members are put in touch with five other women living near them.
Mrs Ashdown said it would be helpful if there were more members in the Bradford area and is supporting Mrs Vann’s bid to get the group better known and encourage people, of all ages, to join.
“If you wanted to join, you are put into teams of six and it’s just so you can go on outings with people in the same boat and help each other and go off and do things – whether it’s going to nightclubs, or walking, or whatever you want,” she said.
At 48, Mrs Ashdown, a hairdresser, is the youngest member of her group, but thinks there must be local women of a similar age or younger who could benefit from joining.
“It is beneficial and nice to talk to people in the same situation,” she said. “My friends are great, but they don’t know what you are going through.
“When you’ve been a couple for such a long time, you don’t want to be around couples all the time. They’re wonderful people, but you do feel like you’re on your own.”
Jolly Dollies costs £5 a month to join and has a website with a monthly newsletter, sharing advice and stories, and forum.
To join, go to the ‘Become a Member’ page at thejollydollies.com.