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Widow of alcoholic reads poem at Norwich remembrance service

Widow of alcoholic reads poem at Norwich remembrance service

The widow of a man who died from alcohol addiction read a poem at a service of remembrance for those who have died through drugs or alcohol at Norwich Cathedral.

More than 1,500 people in the Eastern region die every year as a result of drugs and alcohol, and for many people it is a tragedy that is hard to share and difficult to bear.

Three years ago, parents who had lost loved ones in this way met Julian Bryant, director of Norwich’s Matthew Project, which supports people with drug and alcohol-related issues, to discuss how to commemorate lost lives.

They approached the cathedral and Norfolk coroner William Armstrong and together they started the annual service of remembrance.

Shirley Scott, 54, a part-time shop assistant from Gorleston, lost her husband Scott, 57, from alcohol addiction in July.

She said: “I was asked to either talk about my experiences or read a poem, and I chose to read the poem.

“I hope that people at the service who heard it and still are involved with drugs or alcohol will see it from the perspective of someone who lived with an alcoholic.

“If somebody can latch on to what I said and it makes them think twice, then it will be worth it.

“People who have been through what I have often feel alone and isolated, because there’s a stigma attached to alcohol.

“But I hope the service will offer strength and comfort and help us in our struggle to move on, yet never forget.” During the service, which was held on Thursday night, there was a chance for people to choose a pebble and place it in front of the altar in memory of their loved one.

Mr Armstrong, who has been closely involved with the service, said: “As coroner I am regularly conducting inquests into the deaths of those whose lives have been cut short by drugs and alcohol.

“I come face to face with the families and loved ones and witness the distress and devastation they experience as a result of such tragic losses.

“This very special service provides a unique opportunity for those bereaved as the result of such losses to come together, united in their grief, to remember the lives of those they have lost, to recall treasured memories and to experience a sense of fellowship.”

The Matthew Project, based in Pottergate, supported the event and its director Julian Bryant said: “The service was attended by about 150 people. It was a very moving service and Shirley read her poem, which touched a lot of people.

“I thought of those people I have known and was quietly praying and remembering. It was a very poignant service as drugs and alcohol affect us all.”

For more information visit www.matthewproject.org.

Did you draw comfort from the service after losing a loved one? Call reporter Dvaid Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk.

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