HELP is at hand for anyone who has suffered bereavement or loss, thanks to a new support group.

The group, based at St James’ Church in Roscow Avenue, Breightmet, is run by Reverend Alan Pierce and Jan Bakewell, a qualified counsellor, along with volunteers.

Meetings are held at the church twice a month.

Adults and young people of all ages are welcome to attend and all information shared is confidential.

Rev Pierce said: “Anyone can come — you don’t need to be religious, we’re not trying to convert anyone, no one is going to judge you if you’re angry or upset. We just want to help and support people.

“Nobody can prepare for bereavement. It touches you when you hear all these stories about suicide, illness, sudden deaths. It’s a taboo subject, but it affects everyone.

“There’s an urgent need for this kind of support in the community — there’s only so much one person can do to support themselves.

“At the moment, there’s only a small group of us, but I don’t mind if we get a dozen, because it’s a dozen people who we’ve helped.”

Ms Bakewell added: “The people who use our group have found it a good place to open up. Bereavement can be a very emotional subject, but we want to make people feel safe and be able to tell their story.”

The group holds extra significance following the death of Aleysha Rothwell, from Breightmet, less than a mile away from St James’ Church.

Mr Pierce said: “The story of Aleysha’s death did touch me.

“It’s easy, when you’re a young person, for things to get out of proportion and bereavement affects them as much as anyone.”

The St James’ Church Bereavement and Loss Support Group meets every second and fourth Wednesday at St James’ Church, from 7.30pm until 9pm.

The group’s next meeting is tonight.