Sponsors and Partners

Support the ESFA Team in raising money for Grief Encounter

Help us support our charitable partners, Grief Encounter in their Forget-Me-Not Walk 2021

Members of the ESFA staff and Council teams will be supporting Grief Encounter’s Forget-Me-Not Walk on 21 March 2021 in order to help raise funds for the service they provide to young people and their families in England, by walking in memory of someone they have lost.

The ESFA has set up a specific JustGiving Team page in order to pool funds raised by the Association to be donated to Grief Encounter in support of their latest campaign. If you haven’t already, you can read the full details on the Forget-Me-Not Walk here.

The ESFA Team would be grateful for any contributions to their fundraising efforts on behalf of Grief Encounter and you can visit the specially created Just Giving page here:


About the Team

Andrea Chilton, CEO: Andrea will be walking in memory of ESFA Council Member, Paul Rickard, who very sadly and suddenly passed away in 2020. Andrea, with the help of her Mum’s friends (!) has already raised over £300 for Grief Encounter with her walk

Phil Harding, Chairman: Phil will be walking for at least 26 minutes along the picturesque White Cliffs of Dover.

Mike Spinks, co-optee FA Council Member: Mike will be walking in memory of a member of his teaching staff who tragically died in school in 1995. Her very sad passing left Mike and his fellow teachers having to deal with bereavement issues with their pupils, but led to the creation of a school bereavement policy, which has since been shared with schools all around theh world, helping them to be able to deal with similar tragic circumstances within their own community

Mark Hignett, ESFA Vice Chairman: Mark will be inviting 26 members of his family and friends to get involved by doing their own Forget-Me-Not walks in March, or donating to his cause.

Darren Alcock, National Competitions Manager: Darren will be walking in memory of former ESFA CEO, Malcolm Berry. A mentor to Darren, after first employing him as a member of ESFA staff 25 years ago this March.

Josh Thornton, National Competitions Secretary: Josh will be walking in memory of two family members; his brother, Paul who sadly passed away some years ago, and his Gran who Josh lost only in February 2021. Josh will be walking on the 21 March with his dog, Frazier – together they will walk either 2.6km or 26 laps of the local park…depending on how much walking Frazier wants to do!

Gavin Rusling, ESFA South West Council Member: Gavin will be walking in memory of several parents who have sadly passed away over recent years. These parents were linked to teams that Gavin has coached, or students that he has taught. Gavin and his dog, Delilah will be walking together on the 21 March. They have already been on a 5k training walk.

Owen Aiston, ESFA North Council Member: Owen will be walking in memory of his good friend, John Appleby, who sadly passed away in 2020. John was Chairman of the ESFA when Owen joined Council in 2011 and they developed a very close friendship over the coming years. Owen will be walking up in the North East of England with Bruno the dog.

Dawn Howard, ESFA Finance Officer: Dawn will be walking in memory of Don Palmer OBE on what would have been his 90th birthday. Don was a member of the ESFA Council for over 30 years and encouraged Dawn to study for her professional accounting qualifications when she first joined the Association in the late 1980s. Dawn is planning on doing 26,000 steps and scattering Forget-Me-Not seeds along the way.

Nick Loftus, Midlands Council Member: Nick is planning to walk 26,000 steps along with his wife and dog.

Sarah Kearney, PR, Marketing & Comms Exec: Sarah will be walking in memory of her best friend, Rhiannon Gauntlett, who tragically and suddenly passed away from meningitis in February 2020, leaving behind a 9 month old daughter. Sarah plans to walk 26,000 steps (split between herself, her husband, Scot and daughter, Hollie) on 21 March, walking around 8600 steps each in the local area.

Mike Coyne, Chair of Trustees

Ian Laithwaite, Commercial Director: Ian will be walking in memory of his Dad, John who sadly passed away in 2016. Not a day goes by without Ian and his family missing John’s presence and they felt it would be a fitting tribute to him to take part in an event raising money to support other people in times of grief. Ian plans to walk 2.6 miles on the 21 March

Sponsors and Partners, The World of Schools' Football

ESFA announce Grief Encounter as their Associate Charity

The English Schools’ FA is delighted to announce Grief Encounter as their Associate Charity for the 2019/20 season.

Grief Encounter support bereaved children and their families to help alleviate the pain caused by the death of someone close. Established in 2003, Grief Encounter is one of the UK’s leading bereaved child charities, providing free, pioneering services and support to bereaved children, young people and their families.

Having recently launched their new, confidential helpline, ‘grieftalk’, Grief Encounter have made huge steps in offering further support via the telephone, live chat and email services to children who may be struggling with the death of a loved one.

The English Schools’ FA feels the partnership between Grief Encounter and themselves is one that makes perfect sense. To be able to open lines of communication for children across England who may be struggling with bereavement issues is something that the ESFA feels passionately about and are keen to promote the partnership to member schools and associations.

Aside from the promotion of the nationwide, confidential helpline, ‘grieftalk’, the partnership between the two charities hopes to see the formation of classroom resources specifically designed to help to support teachers who may have little or no experience of dealing with bereaved children within a classroom environment. We hope that the delivery of these resources will help strengthen the messages of support portrayed by Grief Encounter and provide teaching staff with invaluable resources to equip them for related scenarios.

Richard Fogelman, Grief Encounter CEO comments, “Reaching bereaved children and young people in today’s society is notoriously difficult. With the opening of our new, nationwide and freephone helpline, GriefTalk, alongside our well established school support work, our hope is that the partnership with the ESFA, and their network of schools and volunteers across the UK, will help us promote open conversation with young people about grief. We are excited to be working alongside the ESFA and thank them for the opportunity to help more bereaved children, young people and their families.”

Andrea Chilton, ESFA CEO said, “We are very proud to be able to promote the wonderful work carried out by Grief Encounter via our network of schools and volunteers across England. The messaging and support provided by Grief Encounter is hugely insightful and we believe will be of great use to all of our Members. We are privileged to be able to spread the word about this wonderful charity and the support mechanisms they provide to young people – we hope that through this partnership we are able to help make a difference within children and young people’s lives when they need it most.”

Further information will be sent out regarding the work of Grief Encounter in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, you can find out more about them via their website. There is also a direct link to their page as well as contact details located on the homepage of the ESFA website.

Get In touch

Tel: 0808 802 0111
Web: www.griefencounter.org.uk
Email: grieftalk@griefencounter.org.uk