Book published to help bereaved children of key workers

Howard Lake | 23 March 2021 | News

Hospital by the Hill - illustration by Faye Troote
Illutrastion by Faye Troote

A free book is to be given to support the children of key workers who have lost a loved one during the Covid-19 pandemic. Published today to mark the national day of reflection, ‘Hospital by the Hill’ is written to help give them comfort at a very difficult time.

Written by actor and author Chris Connaughton and illustrated by Fay Troote, the book tells the story of a child coming to terms with the loss of their mother, who had been a nurse at a hospital. The book is being provided for free to any children who have been affected.

Foreword by Prince Harry

The book’s foreword has been written by Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, who reflects on his own experience of bereavement.


In his foreword, The Duke says: “If you are reading this book, it’s because you’ve lost your parent or a loved one, and while I wish I was able to hug you right now, I hope this story is able to provide you comfort in knowing that you’re not alone.

“When I was a young boy I lost my mum. At the time I didn’t want to believe it or accept it, and it left a huge hole inside of me. I know how you feel and I want to assure you that over time that hole will be filled with so much love and support.”

Hospital by the Hill - cover illustration by Faye Troote
Hospital by the Hill – cover illustration by Faye Troote

Child bereavement charities

Hospital by the Hill has been spearheaded by the founders of Simon Says, the child bereavement support charity.

The book promotes the services offered by three charities who help children cope with loss, Simon Says, Child Bereavement UK and Winston’s Wish.

Author Chris Connaughton says: “I felt very privileged to be asked to write this book. The project seemed to me to address several important emotional issues for young people dealing with the impact of losing a loved one to Covid, and I hope my story, along with Fay Troote’s beautiful illustrations, offers them some comfort.

“I wanted it to provide a connection, support and hope through the hard and horrible times of bereavement. I am extremely grateful to the Duke of Sussex for his support during this project and for giving his time so generously. Having his open, heartfelt and honest words as a foreword to the book is a tremendous honour.”

Connaughton has worked in theatre, TV and radio. He has written and produced more than 30 different plays and storytelling performances for young audiences, and makes over 100
school visits every year throughout the UK. Last year he ran an online course with UK Fundraising introducing fundraisers to storytelling with empathy.

Connaughton told UK Fundraising:

“Writing about death is hard. 

Talking about it can be even harder. 

It’s always hard and horrible to deal with the death of someone you love, to lose someone who loved you.

I was already grown up when my dad died. And my dad was already quite old. But it was still very hard to talk about. 

I tried to imagine what it must be like if you aren’t grown up yet, and your parent is still quite young. It was horrible to even imagine what that might feel like.

I tried to make this story honest. I hope that I’ve managed to capture some of the feelings truthfully. 

But everyone’s story and feelings are a bit different.

I talk about a mum in these pages, but when you read the story you might be thinking of a mum or  a dad. Your parent might have still been quite young, or a bit older. It could even have been a grandparent. Whoever it is they will always be special. They will always be loved.

In Fay’s pictures, the person looks like a nurse, but your loved one could be an office worker, a cleaner or a journalist. They might be a waiter, a teacher, or anyone else who is special to you. They will always be loved.

Whoever you are thinking about, I hope this story helps makes some of the hard and horrible stuff a bit easier.”

The book can be bought or those who qualify can apply for a free copy of the book via Hospital by the Hill.