A BRAVE mother who lost her daughter in a tragic crash has spend the past 18 month helping other bereaved families.

Joy Rooke, 64, launched a support group in March 2015 after realising there was nothing similar available in south Essex.

Her daughter Debbie died two years earlier - at the age of 31 - after being hit by a car while she was out cycling.

Mrs Rooke, of Beedell Avenue, Westcliff, said: “In April 2013 our 31-year-old beautiful, caring, intelligent Christian daughter Debbie was cycling. An elderly man - unconscious at the wheel - hit her at speed and she died after serious brain damage.

“I was desperate to talk to other bereaved parents and I sought them out, but unfortunately there were no local groups for me to attend, so it was a lonely time.

“I wanted to talk to other bereaved parents because I felt like they would understand what I was going through, but there was nothing.

“I got help on the phone but they weren’t local so I decided that when I got further down the line I would set a support group up.”

The group is proving to be a success, with up to ten guests attending each meeting.

Mrs Rooke added: “People don’t have to talk when they come, some just want to listen.

“You have to deal with parents dying but you never imagine having to bury your own child.

“It’s important to support people, to help them know that they are not alone. You don’t ever imagine losing a child, it is a life changing experience and the worst thing that can ever happen to a parent.

“We support anyone that needs it, whether they lost their child to an accident, an illness or if they took their own life.

“Debbie was leading such a good life, she did a lot of good work for the church and I know she would expect nothing less from me than to do this. “

The group meets behind Avenue Baptist Church, in Avenue Terrace, Westcliff at 10.30am on the first Monday of the month, and some Tuesdays at 11am in the Cliffs Pavilion Café.

Email joyrooke@yahoo.co.uk