Mum wins mental health award

Charmaine George
Charmaine George Image credit:

A special award in memory of TV presenter Caroline Flack was handed out last night, Tuesday September 14, at a prestigious ceremony in London.

The Sun’s Who Cares Wins Awards recognised those supporting others through the pandemic amidst a “mental health emergency” at a glitzy event held at Camden Roundhouse.

This year’s recipient of the Caroline Flack Mental Health Hero award went to Charmaine George who lost her 18-year-old son Ewan when his body was found at the bottom of cliffs when he went camping with friends in May 2020.

In his memory and to help others struggling with mental health conditions Charmaine launched pop-up cafes around Cornwall for those coping with bereavement.

George, 47, told The Sun ahead of the awards: "I got that dreaded knock at the door, the knock you never expect to get. It threw us into real turmoil and it was very unexpected."

Ewan had taken had taken his car to Lighthouse Hill, in Portreath, Cornwall, where it is expected, but not confirmed, he took his life jumping off the cliffs, his body was found around 7am the following day.

His mum said: “That is something we will never know. At his inquest, the coroner recorded an open verdict so we will never know whether or not it was suicide."

Losing a loved one during lockdown was tough for Charmaine, she found it difficult to find anywhere which provided face-to-face support.

She said: “I had telephone counselling. Most of the bereaved parent groups were very sad and I didn't want to be wallowing. Yes it is sad and yes it is heart-breaking. But I wanted to find a way to move forward.

"I searched 'good grief' online and came across a Facebook page for The Good Grief Trust. They were advertising for volunteers to run cafes and there were none in Cornwall.”

After speaking to the charity’s founder Linda Magistris, 57, Charmaine opened her own café for people suffering bereavement.

The service was such a success she now runs grief cafes at Amy’s Kitchen and Bar in Treviskey, Cornwall every two weeks.

Charmaine, who now works as a café coordinator for the Good Grief Trust, said: “People don't relate fun or enjoyment with grief but to move on, you have to find a way to carry on living. When people come to this cafe that is what you have chosen to do - live."

She was nominated for the Caroline Flack Mental Health Hero award by Linda, who said: "Charmaine has offered people help and hope, a way to move forward with their lives. To do what she has done three months' after her sons' death is incredible. She is so deserving of this award."

Caroline Flack took an overdose the night before she died in February 2020.

The Who Cares Wins Awards with the Sun is on Channel 4, Sunday September 19 at 7.30pm and available afterwards on All 4.