A compassionate counsellor turned supervisor and trustee of the Kingston Bereavement Service (KBS) has been told she has saved lives in her work.
Jenny Reid, from New Malden, has been involved with the service since 1994.
She said: “The ones who have made progress are very grateful.
“I have had clients who have said to me ‘Thank you, you have saved my life.’ That is just amazing because you know what depths of despair they were in.
“That is just the occasional one – they are not all that dramatic. It is just an immense reward.
“Sometimes you are left in the dark and you think, ‘What happened to that person?’ “You don’t know. That is something you have to hold as a counsellor.”
Becoming a counsellor, after being trained at a professional and local level, led to personal growth and self-discovery, she said.
Mrs Reid, 73, added: “I had lost my father when I was not quite two, so I had some understanding of bereavement, but I learned a lot more about it from my clients.
“Not everybody grieves in the same way. I had not grieved properly for my father.
“It wasn’t until I was working with two women who had lost their fathers that I realised that.
“It was an amazing experience really.”
Mrs Reid said she became a supervisor because “it was a challenge and I felt that I had sufficient experience by then”.
She said: “It is partly that I care passionately about the work of KBS.
“Because we were losing supervisors I felt that I needed to step up. It is a wonderful organisation and that is why I have stayed with them for so long.”
KBS operations manager Susan Bell said: “She is so calm and supportive. She builds you up and encourages you, and she is willing to go out of her way to make sure you feel like she is there to help you.
“She has always been very involved.”
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