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Bereavement researcher to attend Royal Garden Party

Dr Lucy Selman, Associate Professor from the University of Bristol's Centre for Academic Primary Care and Palliative at a Coronation Garden Party

Dr Lucy Selman, and her husband, at the Coronation Garden Party held in the grounds of Buckingham Palace

Press release issued: 9 May 2023

The founding director of Good Grief Festival whose University of Bristol research has supported thousands of people through serious illness and bereavement will attend one of the first Garden Parties of King Charles III and The Queen’s reign in recognition of her work.

To celebrate The King and Queen's historic Coronation, Dr Lucy Selman will join a Garden Party held in the grounds of Buckingham Palace today [Tuesday 9 May]. A tradition dating back to Queen Victoria, the Royal Family's annual summer Garden Parties came to be closely associated with the late Queen Elizabeth II during her 70-year-reign.

Dr Lucy Selman, Associate Professor from Bristol's Centre for Academic Primary Care and Palliative and End of Life Care Research Group, said: "The invitation was a complete surprise. I am thrilled to be part of such a historic moment and for our work in end-of-life care and bereavement support to be recognised.

"Through collaborations with many different people and groups, I’m honoured to help improve experiences of serious illness and end-of-life care, and to offer opportunities for people to talk, think and learn about grief – a universal experience but one which is often isolating."

Lucy's interest in grief and bereavement arose out of her professional interests and personal experience: her father died of cancer when she was 15, and she went on to become a researcher specialising in palliative and end-of-life care. Her second daughter, Ada, was stillborn in 2018.

Her research over the past 18 years has focused on psychosocial and spiritual aspects of the illness experience; treatment decision-making and communication; family caregiving and bereavement; and widening access to services. Together with Dr Emily Harrop at Cardiff University, Lucy led a national study of bereavement during the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on bereavement services.

Lucy's work has achieved wide-reaching impact both locally and nationally. In 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, Lucy became the Founding Director of Good Grief Festival, which was inspired by her past loss, and her belief that through widening access to research and knowledge and providing a platform to share experiences people can find solace and support. A year later, Lucy and Emily helped launch the UK Commission on Bereavement (UKCB), which has advocated the UK Government to fund robust strategies to deal with bereavement.

Lucy Selman is also leading Good Grief Connects, a two-year project funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, and the National Institute for Health and Care Research [NIHR]-funded OSCAR study (Optimising Staff-Patient Communication in Advanced Renal Disease).

This month [1-8 May] Good Grief held its first in-person festival, Good Grief Weston, in Lucy's hometown, Weston-Super-Mare. The festival was produced by Culture Weston with the Weston-super-Mare Community Network, established to tackle local health inequities via community engagement and cross-sector collaboration.  

Further information

About The Good Grief Festival
Since our first virtual festival in October 2020, Good Grief has hosted 150 free events attended by over 27,000 people, including talks, interviews, webinars and workshops.

Our mission is to host a highly engaging programme of events that brings people together to gain insight, hear stories they can relate to and hopefully find support and healing as part of the Good Grief community. We have also recently launched The Grief Channel on YouTube.

Our events are free and take place throughout the year. You can register for upcoming events here.

About the UK Commission on Bereavement   
The Commission's purpose is to review the experiences of, and support available for, people affected by bereavement through and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, and to make recommendations to key decision-makers, including the UK Government. The Commission is independent of government and is made up of a group of 15 commissioners who were appointed by a steering group including the charities Marie Curie, Independent Age, Cruse Bereavement Support, the National Bereavement Alliance, the Childhood Bereavement Network, the Centre for Mental Health and researchers from Cardiff University, the University of Bristol and the University of Warwick.    

For more information visit :   

Twitter: @theUKCB   

About the Centre for Academic Primary Care
The Centre for Academic Primary Care (CAPC) at the University of Bristol is a leading centre for primary care research in the UK, one of nine forming the NIHR School for Primary Care Research. It sits within Bristol Medical School, an internationally recognised centre of excellence for population health research and teaching.

Follow us on Twitter: @capcbristol and Dr Lucy Selman: @Lucy_Selman

About the National Institute for Health and Care Research
The mission of the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) is to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. We do this by:

  • Funding high quality, timely research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care;
  • Investing in world-class expertise, facilities and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services;
  • Partnering with patients, service users, carers and communities, improving the relevance, quality and impact of our research;
  • Attracting, training and supporting the best researchers to tackle complex health and social care challenges;
  • Collaborating with other public funders, charities and industry to help shape a cohesive and globally competitive research system;
  • Funding applied global health research and training to meet the needs of the poorest people in low and middle income countries.

NIHR is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. Its work in low and middle income countries is principally funded through UK Aid from the UK government.

The NIHR is the research partner of the NHS, public health and social care.

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