Taking a moment for Carole 

Following the death by suicide of his beloved wife Carole, South Gloucestershire farmer Stephen Moorlen decided to set up a mental health fundraising project in her memory. We spoke to Stephen about the project, and the overwhelming response he has had since launching it. 

Originally wanting to call his fundraising project Mom – the name his grandson used for Carole – and also the initials of his mantra, mind over matter – in the end Stephen chose ‘Moments’ because, as he says:  

“When we talk, we always talk about taking a moment and people do need to take a moment, it’s a fitting name.” 

It’s only been nine months since Carole’s funeral in the small community of Hallen on the outskirts of Bristol, when more than 300 people came to say their goodbyes. “Around 200 came back here to the farm, it was overwhelming,” Stephen recalls. 

During this time the Moments group, which Stephen chairs, and which includes his close friends Mike, Maureen, Deb and Susie as well as his daughters Abbie and Kate have raised more than £10,000. Friends and family have held quiz nights and Christmas fairs, run half marathons and completed charity walks in memory of Carole, who died aged 64.


From left to right: Clem Williams, Andy Warren, Deb Burns, Steve Moorlen, Abbie Moorlen, Mike Lewis, Mo Lewis.
From left to right: Clem Williams, Andy Warren, Deb Burns, Steve Moorlen, Abbie Moorlen, Mike Lewis, Mo Lewis.

“It’s been a lot and people are still fundraising now,” said Stephen, “I’ve been here in Hallen for over 50 years. The village committee are going to put a bench on the village green in memory of Carole and the SGS college where she worked is creating a memorial garden.” 

Stephen set up Moments to support mental health organisations in the southwest area and last week he presented Second Step Deputy Chief Executive Andy Warren with a cheque for £1000 for the bereavement work of the Beside Project. 

“My Moments group were delighted to give this money for Beside. Second Step do some wonderful work to support people who have been bereaved by suicide,” Stephen said. 

Beside Project Worker, Clem, who has been supporting Stephen, said:  

“We support those bereaved by suicide, meeting and talking to them in the very early days of their bereavement, at a time when people often don’t have anyone to turn to. We’re able to hold a space for them to be able to talk about their grief, normalise and validate what they’re feeling” 

“We’re also there to help people navigate the practical issues which can feel so overwhelming. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed following such a traumatic loss and having someone share the weight of grief is really important, such a loss can feel so isolating.” 

Left to right: Steve Moorlen, Clem Williams

Find out more about the Beside Project here.

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