For this special addition of WWWK we speak to Michaela Willis MBE, who founded @bereavementpartnership in the 1990’s. Originally set up to give support to those affected by the issues that arose from the Bristol Royal Infirmary Public Inquiry.
Michaela has been the Chair of the Bristol Heart Children’s Action Group and Cahir of the National Committee Relating to Organ Retention, then going on to be a lecturer in Death, Bereavement and Human Tissue studies, obtained an MSc in Healthcare Ethics from Bristol University, undertook an audit of 36 hospitals and 5 universities and wrote the bereavement standards for the Irish Government. She was a member of the board for the Human Tissue Authority and sat on the council of AAMA (Action Against Medical Accidents). She was also on the Board of North Devon Primary Care Trust for 6 years.
In 2002, Michaela was awarded an MBE for her services in this area.
1. Why did you set up National Bereavement Partnership?
I received a high volume of calls from people I have met over the years needing support to offload.
2. What are your goals?
To provide as 7 day a week helpline, support for anyone affected whether directly or indirectly from COVID.
3. What drives you?
I have experienced some real sorrow in my life and know what it is like to feel deep pain.
4. Who is your greatest inspiration?
I honestly don’t know, I admire many people and derive inspiration from that.
5. What advice would you give to other women trying to get into/working within your sector?
Have the ability to listen, be able to hear, have empathy and compassion.
6. What advice would you give to teenage you?
Savour all you do, every year shapes you.
7. What’s your go to Happy Hour drink?