Lonely this Christmas

Article date: 27 December 2002

Christmas is a time for friends and family – but foranyone who has lost a friend or relative over the past 12 months,it can be an extremely difficult period too.

New research launched today by Norwich Union shows that thefestive season is the one time of the year when deceased friends orfamily are missed the most.

Just over half (51 per cent) the adults questioned nationwidenamed Christmas as the time of year when they miss them most, with20 per cent saying their birthday, 7 per cent anniversaries, and 4per cent the summer time.

And women are the most likely to miss a friend or relative atChristmas – 56 per cent named Christmas as the time they missthem most, compared to 47 per cent of men.

The Norwich Union research also reveals:

  • Women feel more at ease discussing death than men
  • Death is seen as less of a taboo by the youngest (16-24) ANDoldest (65+) than all other age groups, while religion is thebiggest conversational taboo among 30-somethings
  • Death is seen as the biggest taboo by a quarter (24 per cent)of Londoners - far more than anywhere else in Britain
  • People in the North West are the most likely to openly discussdeath – only 12 per cent of people asked described death asthe biggest taboo, fewer than anywhere else

David Czerwinski, of Norwich Union, said: “Christmas istraditionally the one time of year when we gather with loved ones,so it’s natural that a deceased friend or relative isparticularly missed at this time of the year.

“Our research suggests that two out of every three peoplein the UK has lost either a close family member or a friend in thelast three years – yet as a nation we still find it extremelydifficult to discuss death, and cope with bereavement.”

Earlier this year, Norwich Union announced it was supportingCruse Bereavement Care, the UK’s largest and only nationalorganisation that helps and supports the bereaved.

Norwich Union is donating £90,000 to Cruse, allowing the charityto recruit a full-time member of staff and train 10 volunteers towork on its helpline and respond to calls. Norwich Union will alsogive a further £10,000 in sponsorship to the charity’spublication ‘Cruse News’.

The survey also found that people are most likely to turn tofamily members after a bereavement, and that women are more likelyto turn to girlfriends than men are to discuss it with their malecounterparts. Just six per cent of those questioned would turn to‘a religious leader’.

Asked what they needed most to help them through theirbereavement, 46 per cent said ‘someone to talk to’– while the joint second most popular answers were family andfriends; counselling and support; and to be left alone.

Anne Viney, spokesperson for Cruse, added: “Cruse providesadvice, counselling and information on practical matters forbereaved people entirely free of charge - last year over 107,000people sought help and support from us.

“Cruse is only able to offer its services freely due tothe generosity of individuals and grant-making bodies, andwe’re delighted to receive the support of Norwich Union.

“The research findings demonstrate that people clearlyfind death a taboo subject, whether it’s discussing it withothers or seeking help. Anyone who has suffered a bereavement andwants help can contact the Cruse helpline on 0870 1671677.”

More information and advice on dealing with bereavement isavailable at www.crusebereavementcare.org.uk.

Press contact: Jane Wheeler, 020 7379 0304 (Monday Dec 30 -Tuesday Dec 31 only) or Jo Carr, 07776 137 141 / 020 87487330.

Notes to Editors

Norwich Union commissioned Taylor Nelson Sofres to carry outresearch among 1,010 adults nationwide, aged 16+, during August2002.

Norwich Union – www.norwichunion.com - is the UK’slargest insurer, offering a comprehensive range of long-termsavings and general insurance products.

News releases are available on the Aviva plc website at www.aviva.com, and aselection of images is available from the Norwich Union Newscastsite at www.newscast.co.uk.

Cruse Bereavement Care is the UK’slargest and only national organisation that helps and supportsanyone bereaved by death. Last year over 107,000 people sought helpand support from Cruse.

Cruse provides advice, counselling and information on practicalmatters for bereaved people entirely free of charge. Cruse’sbereavement support is delivered through its national helpline anda network of over 6,500 highly committed volunteers working in thecommunity, in 178 branches across the UK.

Cruse Bereavement Care,
126 Sheen Rd, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1UR
Tel: 020 8939 9530
Helpline: 0870 167 1677
E-mail: info@crusebereavementcare.org.uk
Charity Reg No 208078

Members of the General Insurance Standards Council
Members of the Aviva group

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