Friends of a ‘devoted’ mother came together in Kenilworth this week to celebrate her life and raise money for a charity that helped her family cope with her death.
Dyanne Heason, who was an active member of a mums group in Kenilworth, died of leukaemia in December 2016, leaving behind her husband Toby and her one-year-old daughter Laura.
She was a keen participant in mother-and-baby classes held at the Kenilworth Centre, such as Bump2Baby coffee mornings where she would offer new mothers advice, and Rhythm Time, where she and young Laura would enjoy singing and dancing with other parents and children.
And it was the Kenilworth Centre that held the fundraising event on Wednesday February 22 between 10am and noon, which incorporated an auction, a book stall, a baby clothes sale, and a bake-off judged by chef director at The Cross, Adam Bennett.
More than £1,000 was raised and more than 100 people attended the morning, far exceeding organisers’ expectations.
Helen Keast, the founder of Bump2Baby and one of the main organisers of the morning, described how popular Dyanne was with the group and said she helped produce a real community spirit within the group.
Helen added: “She was just one of those ladies who would light up the room - everyone liked her.
“Today has just been phenomenal - just two days before we were saying what if people don’t turn up and it doesn’t happen? But it’s exceeded all of that.”
All the money raised will go to charity Widowed and Young (WAY), which helps provide emotional support men and women under the age of 50 who have lost their partner.
Toby discovered them around a week-and-a-half after Dyanne died, following a friend’s recommendation.
It is a peer-to-peer support group run by volunteers who have been bereaved at a young age themselves.
Toby, who attended the morning with Laura, said WAY’s support was invaluable.
He added: “I think it’s really important to raise awareness of this charity. It gives people the courage to talk about their loss, particularly if you’re male, who don’t handle things like this as well.
“Although most of the people who came knew Dyanne well, they didn’t have to do this. I’m very proud.
“It was good to get everyone together to talk about their memories of her.”
He went on to describe the turnout as ‘absolutely amazing’ and the generosity shown by those who attended as ‘astonishing’.
It is hoped similar events will be organised in the future.
Anyone wishing to donate to WAY in memory of Dyanne should click here