Andy Langford is the Chief Operating Officer at Cruse Bereavement Care. He has worked in bereavement services for the last 16 years and is passionate about making a positive difference to bereaved people’s lives. Andy was involved in Cruse’s response to the Grenfell disaster in 2017.
Andy says: “As the Chief Operating Officer at Cruse, I oversee and support our services to help bereaved people. This includes our network of Cruse services across England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as specialist projects focusing on particular client groups or needs. My role is strategic and includes having an overview of our services and how to improve them to ensure that bereaved people get the type of support they need when they need it.
“I have worked at Cruse since September and 2015 and I truly believe in what the organisation is doing. Not a day goes by when I don’t think 'I have helped make a positive difference'.
“We supported people after the Grenfell fire incident. The whole thing was memorable – shocking and horrific in terms of the tragedy, but also inspiring when I saw people in the community with such courage.
“I recall walking from Shepherd’s Bush up to the Humanitarian Assistance Centre shortly after the fire, and walking through the community past the burnt out husk of the tower. It was tragic to see a community so affected – to see, feel and taste the dust that still hung in the air. However, it was also inspiring to see how people carried on living and holding those most dear to them close. I visited the assistance centre and saw our volunteers in action, supporting local people, and that was incredibly inspiring.
“I was both upset and overjoyed at the same time. Upset at the immense loss, but joyful that we could help in a small way.
“Looking ahead, I am really looking forward to our conference on the 4th and 5th of July, celebrating 60 years of Cruse. However, this conference is all about showcasing learning around how we can support people when they face the death of someone close. It is so important that we learn and grow, and change to adapt to the needs of bereaved people. It is great to reflect on past achievements and what we are doing now that works well. It’s also vital that we adapt as society and people’s needs are constantly changing.
“I am also wearing my Cruse 60th anniversary pin every day. It’s surprising how many conversations this has brought up – about Cruse and about bereavement generally. It’s opened up opportunities for honest discussion that would not have happened otherwise. People often find it hard to talk about death and bereavement, and having a catalyst for having a good conversation that will happen to all of us has been really helpful.”
Read more 60 Voices here.