Edward’s Trust is a specialist provider of holistic family bereavement support for the West Midlands area. We are based in Edgbaston, Birmingham. The Trust was founded in 1989 by Peter and Hilary Dent, in memory of their son, Edward, who died when he was 7 years old.
We support over 600 families per year which equates to around 3,000 family members. We are here for as long as our families need us. We offer a holistic approach through counselling and play therapy and run a ‘wellbeing in bereavement’ service in order to support our families during their most difficult times.
The History of Edwards Trust
The starting point for an organisation’s story is rarely the point at which it begins. Edward’s Trust officially became a registered charity on 10th March 1989 but the idea of establishing a charity to support families who have children with life threatening illnesses goes back almost to when Edward was first diagnosed with a Wilm’s Tumour, a rare form of cancer, back in August 1987.
Edward Dent was just seven and a half years old when he died on 29 July 1988. He was ‘Just an ordinary boy with an extraordinary amount of courage’ – a quiet boy, a pupil at Knowle Infants School, Solihull, where he was probably more studious than most and enjoyed reading. Edward’s name lives on as a registered charity, raising money and helping parents who are forced to live through a similar nightmare.
The Story of the Kite
According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, a symbol is something that stands for something else, especially a material object representing something abstract. Edward’s Kite is such a material object. It has three significant elements, Colour, Flight and Face.
Edward chose yellow and green for the tail of the kite. Yellow,(his favourite colour) is an optimistic & cheerful colour. Green is a symbol of balance and growth. The one merges into the other on the spectrum and combined, they often are seen as representing healing at a mental, emotional and/or physical level..
The kite can be imagined to be flying high. There is a freedom of spirit represented in the drawing that is expressed clearly in the Song from Mary Poppins:
Let’s go fly a kite, Up to the highest height, Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring,
Up through the atmosphere, Up where the air is clear, Oh let’s go fly a kite!
The song is used in the film to symbolise the importance of family – the image of a kite used to bring a family back together. For families who come to Edward’s Trust, their loss means the family will never come back together as it was before. But, ‘where the air is clear’, we hope there will be a reunion – a way to live our lives with grief in our hearts.
Even though the kite is high in the sky, the face shows no fear. It is an innocent childlike happiness. But the smile is everybody’s smile, not just a child’s smile but an adult’s smile to the world. More than that, it symbolizes trust in the goodness of things. A belief that despite all, even a child has an inner strength and courage that shows itself when faced with the ultimate challenge of life and death.‘True courage is like a kite; a contrary wind raises it higher’(John Petit-Senn). Whether that contrary wind comes through illness, violence, accident, self-harm, for those who are left with a loss, the kite can symbolize the ‘true courage’ of grief.
Edward’s Kite, therefore, through its colours, its face and its flight, symbolises a courageous healing journey across space and time for a young child, for an older child, for a parent, for a grandparent. Edward’s Kite represents to everyone at Edward’s Trust a symbol of hope, not that the pain of loss will disappear but that there is a way of living with the loss. It is unique to each individual, it is not a formula, it is not a process, it is not a magic potion. Nor is it easy or pain-free.
And there is no string on Edward’s kite– just of course, as Edward’s Trust offers unconditional support, with no strings attached.
Fiona Goldstraw – Chair of Trustees
Clare Martin – Vice Chair of Trustees
Patrons & Ambassadors
Charles de Rohan
Meet the Team
Chief Executive Officer – Yvonne Gilligan
Engagement Manager – Lucy Goodway
Fundraising and Evaluation Manager – Emma Wright
Comms & Marketing Coordinator – Helen Tomblin
Service Delivery Team:
Clinical Lead – Justine Wilson
We have a strong team of Counsellors and Wellbeing Therapists with a broad range of skills and expertise.