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Mum’s heartache as kids lose their dad, grandad and uncle in 8 weeks

Three children are mourning the loss of their dad, grandad and uncle after they died within the space of eight weeks.

Olivia Bryant, 11, her sister Lucy, eight, and brother Jamie, four, are trying to come to terms with the main men in their lives not being there any more.

Sadly, their dad died on September 6, aged just 61, their ‘Pops’ Carl Whiting died from liver failure resulting in a heart attack on October 4, aged 59, and then their uncle James Driver-Fisher died in a car accident on October 31. He was just 37.

Read more‘I just want to stay with my babies’ – young mum fighting for her life after thinking she had heartburn

“It’s such a huge loss to all of us, it’s left three large hollows in my children’s lives,” said their mum Hannah Fisher, 34 and a teaching assistant from Sutton Coldfield. She was separated from her children’s father and has asked BirminghamLive not to include details of his death.

“We’re all in absolute shock and devastation. It’s like someone has pressed the reset button.”

Hannah Fisher with her children and their grandpops Carl

“It was Olivia’s first day at secondary school when her dad died. That’s hard enough as it is. Then ‘Poppy’, my stepdad, passed away. He was everything to them and so was my brother. We’re such a close family, we all saw each other all the time.

“The children have been brilliant. They are what’s keeping us going. They go to Catholic school and I think it helps having a faith. They believe they are in heaven watching over them.

“My children also lost their step-brother Mason in a car accident last year. He was 13. That was their first funeral.

“It feels like, particularly for my four-year-old, all he knows is people dying. He’s so scared someone else is going to die.”

Hannah says that the heartbreaking tragedies have understandably affected her children’s confidence levels.

“They were such confident children and I think this has knocked their confidence a lot,” said Hannah, whose stepdad was a retired paramedic and forensics nurse, and brother James was a journalist.

“My son used to love going to nursery but now he hates being away from me. They cannot understand what’s happened. It’s hard for anyone to understand that, in the space of a couple of months, three huge male figures have gone from our lives.”

Not knowing what to do or say, one of Hannah’s friends Tania Henry decided to launch a GoFundMe page to enable Hannah and the children to go out and make some new family memories together. You can make a donation here

Tania wrote on the page: “Nothing that anyone can say or do can take away the heartache they are all feeling at this time, but I wanted my friend and her children, her mom and her brother’s wife and child and her other brother, partner and daughter to all go away somewhere lovely, to have that bonding time and to remember how special their loved ones were to them.

“Even if it’s £1 – please donate so this family can have something positive to share in this tragic year. Thank you so much.”

BrumWish 2021 aims to get thousands of Christmas gifts to young children in need across our city – the homeless, the vulnerable, kids in care and kids who have little.

This year’s appeal is bigger and better than ever – because we have teamed up with our partners at #Toys4Birmingham, including Thrive Together Birmingham, the Birmingham Playcare Network, the Edgbaston Foundation and Birmingham Forward Steps.

Also involved are Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust, Barnardo’s, Spurgeon’s children’s charity, the Springfield project in Sparkhill, St Paul’s Community Development Trust and Your Local Pantry, which runs food hubs in 12 locations across Birmingham and the Black Country.

You can buy a gift from the #Brumwish Amazon Wishlist here.

Or you can collect and drop off donations of new and nearly new toys and gifts to special donation days at Edgbaston Stadium, B5 7QU, on Saturday November 27, Friday December 3 and Saturday December 4, from 11am to 3pm, where volunteers will be waiting to see you.

Brand new or nearly new, unwrapped gifts, books and toys for all ages will be accepted.

You can also donate cash, which will go into a fund held by a charity partner to use to plug gaps or buy specialist toys for children with additional needs. This is the link to make a donation.

Hannah said: “Tania set it up so we can have some money to make some memories together. She said no-one knows what to say or do so if they can donate, they feel they are helping us where words just feel a bit empty and pointless.

“This is not something you come across very often, to lose such significant, amazing people in such a short space of time.

“My stepdad Carl’s death was quick and unexpected. We knew he was not well but no-one anticipated that. We were just beginning to grieve for him when my brother was killed in a car accident.

“James died the day before my son’s birthday and three days before his own birthday. He always wanted everyone to get together for his birthday, he loved having people around. We ended up having an open house on his birthday and everyone was there.”

She added: “We’d lost my dad 14 years ago when I was 20 and James was really like my dad, the life and soul of the party. He had run 11 marathons this year to raise £1,000 for John Taylor Hospice.

“He was fit and healthy and was always trying to help people, especially his family. He’s been a huge support to me over the years.

“He lived in Netherton but we always saw each other, especially when he had his daughter Annabelle, who is now seven.

“We’ve got amazing friends and family. The kids have an older brother, Adam, who has been brilliant. He’ll come and take them out for a bit so we can grieve and have a bit of a cry without them seeing us. But, as a family, we don’t tend to hide stuff like that. We let them know it’s OK to feel angry or sad.

“Now we’re anticipating Christmas without them. The children would have shared Christmas with me and their dad, then we’d have had my mum, stepdad and brother over for dinner.

“We all love Christmas so we’re going to keep trying to go out and enjoy places like Thomasland and the Snowdome with the kids. They want to put the decorations up so we’re going to do that now. We’ll carry on as best we can for them.”

Are you raising money to help someone in need? We’d like to help. Get in touch via our Brummie Mummies Facebook page or email [email protected]

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