Bereavement charity founder who runs support cafes in Leamington and Kenilworth receives a royal award to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

Tracey McAtamney, whose husband Tony died unexpectedly several years ago, set up Surviving Bereavement in 2019 to help others to overcome similar losses

Tracey McAtamney with her Platinum Champion Award from The Royal Voluntary Service. Photo by Dy Holmes
Tracey McAtamney with her Platinum Champion Award from The Royal Voluntary Service. Photo by Dy Holmes

A charity founder who runs monthly bereavement cafes in Leamington and Kenilworth has been named as a Platinum Champion as part of a national Jubilee awards celebrating dedication to volunteering.

Tracey McAtamney, 56, was recognised for her work as the founder of Surviving Bereavement foundation, which she established in memory of her late husband Tony.

The former Coventry Carnival Queen, from Balsall Common, was left widowed with two sons at just 38 when Tony suddenly collapsed and died while on a golfing holiday.

Tracey McAtamney with her late husband Tony.

It was some 15 years later, in 2019, that this tragic event was to inspire a series of new ventures aimed at helping others overcome loss, and a foundation called Surviving Bereavement was born. It offers legal and financial advice as well as practical help.

This support also takes the form of bereavement cafes in Leamington, Kenilworth, Balsall Common and Berkswell.

The charity also provides bespoke memory boxes, which are available for grieving children and young adults.

In 2019, Tracey published her own book, Hidden Strength, and has since gone on to qualify as a trained grief counsellor.

The Platinum Champion Awards are a project launched by The Royal Voluntary Service in honour of The Queen’s 70-year reign and celebrate ‘extraordinary volunteers who go that extra mile to improve the lives of others.’

The 490 winners received a specially designed pin and certificate.

Reacting to the award, which she received this week, Tracey said: “I am honoured and delighted to be recognised in this way.

"I am passionate about supporting those coping with the pain and isolation of loss.

"Our cafes provide a safe place for people to talk and I hope our memory boxes bring some comfort to children and young adults.

“Since Tony’s death, I have had to rely on that inner strength to get me and the boys through situations that have seemed impossible.

" Death has not defined us as a family but it has truly shaped us as people.

“My motto is ‘there’s always a light at the end of a tunnel and always an answer to an impossible situation’ - that’s what Surviving Bereavement is here to help with.”