Laura, Kate and Jayne Burgan attend SSAFA Support Groups for bereaved siblings

Laura, Kate and Jayne Burgan

SSAFA's support group for bereaved families helped them get through losing their brother Mark

Laura, Kate and Jayne Burgan

When their brother was killed in Afghanistan, Laura, Kate and Jayne found mutual support from SSAFA's Support Groups for bereaved families and siblings.

Laura, Kate and Jayne Burgan

The Support Group is like an extended family to us. Losing Mark is always there - it never leaves us. But through SSAFA, we can remember and honour him in other ways.

Sisters Kate, Laura and Jayne have experienced first hand the difference support from SSAFA makes.

Their brother Lance Corporal Mark Burgan, was killed when an IED device struck his vehicle in Afghanistan in March 2011.  Feeling they needed more support, outside the help they had received from the Army and Mark’s Regiment, they approached SSAFA who provide family and sibling support groups for both bereaved families and also families of injured service personnel.

The family attended their first support group event in 2012 and Kate recalls it was such a relief to meet other siblings who had gone through similar experiences.

‘’The support groups give us some grounding and a common place where we can support each other and share what we’re going through – we didn’t have that before.  Its like an extended family to us, we’re all somewhere in the grieving process and you can be yourself, whatever stage you’re at’’

Laure, Kate and Jayne Burgan

We have been involved in the sibling support group for about 3 years now – the commonalities are heart breaking but they give us bond that maybe isn’t there with friends outside of the charity.

‘’We have attended family support group events and sibling group events and we have found that they both offer something different.  The family support groups are quite formal, with a meet and greet often a member’s activity of some kind and a memorial service.

‘’The Sibling Support Group events, for us, are a lot more personal and intimate. They are more relaxed; we can come and go, take what we need from them. It’s clear that SSAFA has put a lot of effort into making it a significant event for the bereaved families and individuals that attend.”

“ We have been involved in the sibling support group for about 3 years now – the commonalities are heart breaking but they give us bond that maybe isn’t there with friends outside of the charity.”

Sometimes the people who help most are those who have been through the same experiences.  The SSAFA Support Groups are a community of Forces families and individuals all facing similar challenges who help each other and offer mutual support.