Wigan widower sets up new bereavement group

Margaret Stringfellow, George Fairhurst, Jean Cox, Des Morgan, Danny Jones and Amy Fazackerley
Margaret Stringfellow, George Fairhurst, Jean Cox, Des Morgan, Danny Jones and Amy Fazackerley

A grieving Wigan man whose wife died following a battle with cancer, has set up a bereavement group for others who are coming to grips with losing their loved ones.

George Fairhurst, from Standish, had been married to his wife Maria for 51 years when she lost her fight against the disease last May, aged 75.

Sadly the disease was found too late and proved terminal.

“She took it all on board herself,” he said. “That’s how great she was, she was unbelievable.

“When she was dying she put money in little purses for me so I would have money to one side. That’s just who she was.”

Although kept busy by his job as a Wigan councillor, Mr Fairhurst has been open about the grief and loneliness he has struggled with since losing his lifelong partner.

Earlier this year, the 77-year-old decided to launch a group for others experiencing the everyday isolation that comes from losing a loved one.

“Since Maria died, I have found myself feeling so lonely, even with my family around me,” he said. “You are on your own at night time. When you go out places you are on your own.

“I thought there must be more people feeling like me out there.”

When Mr Fairhurst initially launched the group there were only a handful of members, but numbers have been building slowly in the past few months.

“I think there’s a lot of people sitting at home with nothing to do but dwell on things by themselves,” he added.

“It’s hard work when you’re lonely but when there are others like you it really helps.

“The group is for people of all ages and even just anyone who is lonely.

“People can come along if they have been bereaved recently or 10 or more years ago.

“It doesn’t matter who you are or what your circumstances are, you can come and go as you please.”

Mr Fairhust is hoping that the group can expand its offering in time to days out as well as afternoon meetings.

“This is definitely helping me,” he said. “People who have been in this position know you have those days where something just triggers the grief off, it helps to have something like this.”

The group meets at the Lynchgate Tavern on Church Street in Standish.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 4 at 1pm.