Grieving parents’ appeal over bereavement leave

MDB100122c1'Kimberley school pupil Ryan Lee and Mum Deb.
MDB100122c1'Kimberley school pupil Ryan Lee and Mum Deb.

THE PARENTS of a Kimberley teenager who died of a brain tumour are urging people to sign an online petition calling on the Government to increase the length of bereavement leave.

Currently employees are allowed to have just three days off work on full pay after the death of a family member, including the funeral.

Ryan Lee lost his fight for life in June 2010.

And his mum, Deb, told the Advertiser: “It’s disgusting to think that Government guidelines say that three days off work is appropriate for a bereavement.

“Just imagine a parent who has lost a child having to go back to work after just three days. It’s terrible.

“I know that a lot of companies and employers make allowances and are very good about these things but they need the support of the Government, smaller firms can’t afford to give people paid time off.”

Ryan’s dad, Shaun, posted a link to the online petition on the Ryan Lee Trust Facebook page urging people to sign it.

The signatures will be sent to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills early next year. Almost 3,000 people have signed it so far.

Deb added: “When you lose anyone it’s hard and three days isn’t enough in any circumstance but when you’ve lost a child it doesn’t bear thinking about working within a couple of days.

“People deal with grief in different ways and some might find it easier to go back to work sooner rather than later but the option should be there.

“It’s also so important that people have the right support.

“Since Ryan died I’ve had so much support and I don’t think I’d be where I am now if that wasn’t the case.”

Ryan’s family and friends set up the trust to raise money for other people diagnosed with brain tumours.

Hundreds of people follow the charity on Facebook.

Deb said: “We set up the trust to raise money for others with brain tumours but we also want to raise awareness of brain tumours and a whole host of other things.

“We get so much support from people in terms of fundraising but we want them to see that there is a very difficult side to dealing with cancer and show their support by signing petitions and supporting other causes.”

n Volunteers will be bag packing in Sainsbury’s, Kimberley, on Saturday to raise cash for the Ryan Lee Trust.

The event runs from 10am-5pm and anyone who would like to help should log on to the Ryan Lee Trust Faebook page.