Winston's Wish

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Winston's Wish
The Winston's Wish logo
Founded 1992
Founder Julie Stokes
Type Charity
Focus Childhood bereavement
Area served
United Kingdom
Services Charitable services
Mission Charity

Winston's Wish is a childhood bereavement charity in the UK.[1] The charity offers a wide range of practical support and guidance to bereaved children, their families and professionals. The charity currently supports 40,000 bereaved children and young people per year.[2]


Winston's Wish provides professional therapeutic help in individual, group and residential settings,[3] and via a national helpline, interactive website and publications.

The charity is the only specialist national provider of support for children bereaved through murder, manslaughter, suicide,[4] military or hard to reach families.

Winston's Wish also operate SWITCH, a community outreach bereavement support service for vulnerable children and young people aged between 8-14. The service is targeted at vulnerable children who are bereaved of a parent/carer, grandparent or sibling.[5]


Winston's Wish was set up in 1992[6] to meet the needs of bereaved children, young people and their families. The idea took root when clinical psychologist, Julie Stokes, visited the US and Canada on a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship. Having been inspired by the services she saw there, Stokes returned to the UK and set up Winston's Wish.[7] ‘Churchill’ quickly metamorphosed into ‘Winston’ – a bear – who became the charity mascot. Therefore, the charity believes it is Winston’s ‘wish’ that every bereaved child should receive the help they need to cope with the death of someone important in their lives.

In 1992, Winston’s Wish founded to meet the needs of bereaved children in Gloucestershire. Within two years, the service expanded to local schools. In 2000, the charity received funding from the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund[8] for the development of an interactive website aimed at 12- to 18-year-olds. In 2005, the charity launched a national service for children affected by murder, manslaughter or suicide. This was followed in 2006 by the opening of an office in West Sussex. In 2010, the national service launched supporting bereaved children of military families thanks to funding from Help for Heroes.

The charity celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 2012 and had funding awarded by Big Lottery Fund for a new service targeted at bereaved teenagers at risk of offending. This came to fruition in 2013 with the launch of new teenagers bereavement service, ‘SWITCH’. In the same year, the charity launched a fundraising appeal to provide support services in the Wigan[9] and Greater Manchester areas.


Winston's Wish has been the recipient of a number of awards since the charity was launched.

Great British Brekkie[edit]

Celebrity supporters of The Great British Brekkie, Richard and Judy.
Richard and Judy supporting The Great British Brekkie in 2013.

Since 2012, Winston's Wish has annually hosted The Great British Brekkie, a fundraising campaign which aims to revive the tradition of the Great British breakfast. The campaign attracted celebrity support,[16] notably from Richard and Judy,[17] Ruby Wax, Alexander Armstrong, Rachel Khoo, Cerys Matthews and Ray Mears.

In 2015, the campaign attracted further support from Judi Dench,[18] Jacqueline Wilson, Chris Ramsey, Heston Blumenthal, Jenny Eclair and Sol Campbell.[19]

As part of the campaign, Winston's Wish broke a Guinness World Record[20] for the most soldiers dipping eggy soldiers simultaneously. The official winning title states: ‘The most people dipping egg soldiers simultaneously is 178 and was achieved by soldiers of the Allied Rapid Response Corps at an attempt organised by Winston's Wish at Imjin Barracks, Gloucestershire, UK, on 22 January 2014.’

Readying the 2016 campaign, Winston's Wish has enlisted further support from Alan Davies, Andrew Flintoff, Bill Oddie, Gino D'Acampo and Barenaked Ladies.


  1. ^ "Winston's Wish". Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Wish, Winston's (23 June 2016). "Facts and Figures". Winston's Wish. Retrieved 23 June 2016. 
  3. ^ Stephanie Theobald. "How music helps children to deal with bereavement | Life and style". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "Winston's Wish childhood bereavement charity receives grant of £25k". Freemasonry Today. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "SWITCH « Winston's Wish". Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  6. ^ Miranda Sawyer. "How do you explain to your child that you're dying of breast cancer? | Society | The Observer". Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  7. ^ "Our history « Winston's Wish". Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  8. ^ "Gloucestershire Community - Winston's Wish - The Bear That Cares For Bereaved Children". BBC. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  9. ^ "Winston's Wish can now reach out to more youngsters online". Wigan Today. 8 February 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  10. ^ "Gloucestershire Community - Winston's Wish - The Bear That Cares For Bereaved Children". BBC. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  11. ^ "Little acorns, giant oaks | Society". The Guardian. 13 October 1999. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  12. ^ "Our Impact 2012/2013" (PDF). Winston's Wish. 13 September 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 March 2014. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  13. ^ "Plain English awards". Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  14. ^ "Winston's Wish wins Plain English Award". Entertainment Focus. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  15. ^ "You thought Russell Brand talked rubbish? Here's the proof: Comedian landed award for 'worst examples of written tripe' by Plain English campaign". Daily Mail. Retrieved 4 December 2014. 
  16. ^ "Winston's Wish Great British Brekkie | Our Supporters". Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  17. ^ "Great British Brekkie week". Essential Surrey. 20 January 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  18. ^ "Dame Judi Dench, Heston Blumenthal and more reveal their favourite breakfasts for the Great British Brekkie by Winston's Wish". Gloucestershire Echo. 21 January 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  19. ^ "Interview: Sol Campbell backing breakfast campaign for children's charity". Staffordshire Newsletter. 7 February 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  20. ^ Maryam Qaiser (27 February 2014). "Winston's Wish and hundreds of soldiers from Innsworth celebrate after becoming World Record Breakers". Gloucester Citizen. Retrieved 28 April 2014.