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GFG Patrons

We are delighted to have the support and endorsement of the following wonderful people who have agreed to be Patrons of the GFG.

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Zenith Virago

Educator, teacher, speaker, death walker

 

LocationByron Bay

 

Zenith is a highly respected celebrant, educator, public speaker and author who lives in Byron Bay, Australia although she was born in England. She describes herself as a ‘Deathwalker’, and is the founder of the Natural Death Care Centre charity.

 

“Inside everyone is the courage and capacity needed to be easier with death and dying, we just have to wake it up, remember, become more familiar, and practice it everyday.  My work is a holistic hybrid of old and new ways, accompanying those who are dying and their carers, walking with the suddenly bereaved, creating ceremonies that encourage people to really honour their loved ones.”

 

Zenith’s website can be found here.

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Ken West MBE

Hero of the natural burial movement

 
LocationDorset
 

Ken needs no introduction to anyone in the world of natural burials. He designed and opened the world’s first natural burial site in Carlisle, and over 45 years of work he improved the burial situation for stillbirths, unchanged since the 1850’s, and for foetal remains, wrote the Charter for the Bereaved, introduced the reusable coffin for cremation and created techniques for reducing pollution from cremation.

 

He was awarded the MBE in 2001, retired in 2006 and wrote his first two books, publishing his third in 2019. He now has a new love, his pagan ancestor Zuri and writes about her and her world on his blog which can be found on his website Stonehenge Pensioner.

Mohamed Omer

Mohamed Omer
Board Member – External Affairs, Gardens of Peace Muslim Cemetery

 

LocationEast London

Mohamed is currently involved with various charities: he is a Board member – External Affairs, Gardens of Peace Muslim Cemetery, based in Hainault Essex. This is the largest dedicated Muslim Cemetery in Europe and has a capacity for 10,000 graves and burials in accordance with Islamic Shariah.

 

Chair – National Burial Council (an umbrella body for all Muslim Community dealing with burials and deaths )

Member of the Burial Cremation Advisory Group at the Ministry of Justice representing the Muslim Community
He is a trustee of The Big Issue Invest – an organization funding Social Enterprises that are not able to obtain funding from banks. Mohamed has been actively involved with community work in East London for the last 15 years.

 

He is the Chair of the governors of Oaks Park High School in Ilford. Oaks park is a community school and the only PFI school in the borough.

Appointed as a trustee of Haven House Childrens Hospice in Woodford in August 2016 .

Executive Member of the Federation of Redbridge Muslim Organisations (FORMO )

Member of the advisory group on Counter Terrorism at Scotland Yard .

Chair of the Redbridge Faith Forum

Part of the APPG on Baby Loss

Part of the APPG on Bereavement

Carolyn Harris MP image

Carolyn Harris MP
Member of Parliament, Deputy Leader of Welsh Labour

 

LocationSwansea

 

Born and raised in her own constituency of Swansea East, Carolyn grew up with a keen interest in politics – even as a young child campaigning and canvassing within her community.

 

After gaining a degree in Social Policy from Swansea University in 1998, Carolyn continued to work within her community, setting up two centres for disaffected youths.  This was followed by roles as a Regional Director for a capacity building not-for-profit organisation and then a Regional Manager for a children’s cancer charity.

 

Her Parliamentary career began in 2005 when she was employed by the then Member of Parliament for Swansea East, Sian James, working for her for nearly ten years, initially as a caseworker, and eventually as her Office Manager and Senior Parliamentary Assistant.

When Sian chose to step down in 2015, Carolyn was selected as the preferred Labour candidate for Swansea East and on 7 May 2015, she was elected as the constituencies Member of Parliament with a majority of over 12,000.  After the snap general election in 2017, Carolyn was re-elected with an increased majority.

In early 2018, Carolyn announced that, alongside her Parliamentary role, she would be standing in the upcoming election for the first Deputy Leader of Welsh Labour.  In a closely fought campaign, Carolyn was announced as the new Deputy Leader on 21April 2018.

In just four years in Parliament, Carolyn has risen from a backbencher to Shadow Home Affairs and Women & Equalities Minister.  She is now regularly seen on the opposition benches or at the despatch box, debating with colleagues and urging the Government to make changes for the good of the people.

 

Aside from her Shadow Ministerial duties, Carolyn remains a true campaigner, and as such chairs the All Party Parliamentary Groups on State Pension Inequality for Women, Gambling Related Harm, Home Electrical Safety, Beauty Aesthetics & Wellbeing, Children in Wales and Bereavement.  These are all issues that Carolyn cares passionately about, as she seeks to make changes that will benefit both her own constituents, and the public in general all around the country.

Carolyn has also taken the lead in some specific successful campaigns since becoming a Member of Parliament. She led in the call for the establishment of a Children’s Funeral Fund, to spare bereaved parents who suffer the devastating loss of a child the financial burden of burying their loved one. This campaign was very personal to Carolyn, having lost her own son Martin when he was just eight years old, and the reaction to it was phenomenal.  The Welsh Labour Government introduced a Children’s Funeral Fund in 2017 and the UK government followed suit in July 2019.

 

Alongside this, in April 2019, Carolyn had another success, when the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport slashed the maximum stake for Fixed Odds Betting Terminals from £100 a spin to just £2.  Having led a determined and passionate campaign, this was a hugely positive result for Carolyn and for all those cursed with an addiction to these machines.

Despite her ever-growing Parliamentary workload and her Deputy Leadership role, Carolyn still remains focused on the needs of her own community in Swansea East, holding weekly surgeries around the constituency every Friday. As well as this, her constituency office is open and staffed five days a week, offering support and advice to those in need.

Whilst the corridors of Westminster have become her political home – Carolyn is still the same Welsh girl who canvassed on the streets as a child.  Swansea East and its people will always be the main focus of her attention.

Thanks to Icons8 for the icons.

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