Meet Stella Neophytou, our bereavement support coordinator

Published on: 02/12/2021

Between 2nd and 8th December, National Grief Awareness Week highlights the ongoing impact the loss of loved ones has, while championing the work of individuals and organisations who devote their time to supporting the people who are bereaved.

It is also the time of year when Wirral Hospice St John’s switches on our lights for Light up a Life.

It seems like the exact right time to tell you a little bit about Stella Neophytou, our bereavement support coordinator.

It takes a special person to be able to listen to how grief is impacting individuals and help them to find ways to cope and to look forward as positively as possible following the loss of a loved one.

Stella is that ‘special person’.

We had a chance to catch up with her and find out a little bit about her approach to bereavement,

When somebody we love dies we experience a whole range of feelings and emotions. It’s never the same for any of us and the various reactions we may have don’t have an agreed order. Our heads certainly get hammered. There can be confusion, a lack of focus, even feeling that we’re losing our minds. Quiet acceptance early on may become a deeper grief some time later.

No two people react exactly the same way. So, there are no set answers.

Our job in bereavement support is to reassure people that what they are going through is natural and completely normal. There is help and there is support.

Some people refer to such support as resilience building, but I like to think of it more as resilience refreshing. Reminding people of the times in their lives when they overcame challenges and adapt it to the circumstances surrounding their loss. We want to help them to look forward while acknowledging the significant pain they are inevitably experiencing.

Who are their family, friends, what are their hobbies and interests. What is their plan for coming through, never forgetting their loved one(s), looking towards a good future life?

We all have ebb and flow. After darkness there is always light.”

Stella is wise, a pleasure to sit down and philosophise with while also appreciating her professional knowledge and empathy for bereaved people.

Stella’s from a really big family. She was brought up down south, London, from a young age.  She has four brothers, (one sadly deceased) and a sister.

For her own part she’s married, with 3 daughters and 3 grandsons.  Stella is from the University of Life having worked in banking, hospitality and the NHS.  She worked at the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre for 12 years, prior to joining us at Wirral Hospice St John’s nearly four years ago, to coordinate bereavement support.

There are now also six bereavement support volunteers, people with clear listening skills, empathy and lived experience, to help to signpost and support our service users. She and this team work closely with all the members of the Patient and Family support team to give the best possible support to family and friends of patients of the hospice, following their loved ones passing.

And, on Stella herself, on every occasion we get to speak to family members who have talked with her they praise her unfailingly. One told us recently,

Stella really got what I was going through. She always listens very patiently and helped me so much. She’s lovely, sympathetic, wise, a real tonic.”

Another family member recently described Stella to us as a SUPERSTAR!

Which is apt because, as we all know at the hospice, she delivers a Stella-r bereavement support service.


On the evening of Sunday 5th December, Wirral Hospice St John’s will switch on 10,000 beautiful lights to shine out brightly from the trees and buildings in and around the hospice gardens each evening, in the run up to and throughout Christmas time.

This year is the 25th anniversary of Light up a Life in which the people of Wirral traditionally come together in a moving, meaningful and uplifting way to commemorate and celebrate the lives of their loved ones who are no longer with us.

As in 2020, a specially pre-recorded service will be available for people to view from the comfort of their own homes, via the hospice’s website, from 6pm (and then throughout )  on Sunday 6th December.

For more details please visit