WriteCharlie will be a book celebrating Charlie's journey and, just as importantly, acknowledging and supporting all those people who have suffered and continue to suffer from the loss of someone they love. Charlie's incredible journey has been an inspiration for us, and I hope for others. All profits after costs will go to Child Bereavement UK.
In December 2005, our daughter Charlie Thompson was killed by a train at Elsenham station in Essex. Charlie and her friend, Liv Bazlinton, died instantly when they were struck by a fast train as they tried to cross the track to catch the train to Cambridge to do some Christmas shopping. Charlie was thirteen years old and Liv was fourteen.
About six months after the accident, a family friend sent us a photograph taken whilst on holiday in Mongolia. She had written Charlie’s name in stones in the Gobi desert. As a result we came up with the idea of asking people to write Charlie’s name and send their photographs into a website which we created called writecharlie. The idea built slowly but soon we started receiving photographs from all over the world. Some were from Charlie’s friends. Some were from family and friends. Some were from friends of friends and many were from complete strangers. It has been, and continues to be, both humbling and inspiring.
The writecharlie website features a map of the world and soon, pins denoting where photographs had been taken, started to spring up everywhere. One of the very first photographs we received was from The Falkland Islands, then came Australia. Soon we began to receive photographs regularly. People would sometimes add a little story and a description of exactly where the photo had been taken.
Many were sent by people who had also lost a beloved child or family member. It became an outpouring of love and, to us, a symbol of unity on a global scale. These wonderful people who sent us photographs come from a diverse range of ethnicities and cultures. We believe that these photographs, taken utterly selflessly, are an inspiration.
We now have hundreds of photographs taken in nearly a hundred countries.
Link to website https://www.writecharlie.org
Link to Child Bereavement UK https://childbereavementuk.org/
We have experienced first-hand the consequences of loss. As a family we have struggled with mental health issues and post traumatic stress disorder, issues that are still prevalent nearly twelve years after Charlie died. We have met and become friends with other families who have lost children and seen their suffering.
Please donate what you can. All those who donate £10.00 or more will have their names printed in a special section devoted to the supporters without whom this book may never be published.
"Child Bereavement UK supports families and educates professionals when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement.
Our vision is for all families to have the support they need to rebuild their lives, when a child grieves or when a child dies.
We aim to ensure the accessibility of high quality child bereavement support and information to all families and professionals by: increasing our reach; plugging the gaps that exist in bereavement support and training across the country; and embedding standards in the sector.’
Two fearless skiers write Charlie's name in their own inimitable way half way up a mountain in The Andes
Toby Freestone, Charlie's cousin, writes her name with sticks in New Zealand in the hope that somebody will spot it from the air and rescue him.
Here are the costs:
A local company of high repute has quoted the following and built in a significant discount.
2,000 Copies £8,145.00
3,000 Copies £10,722.00
4,000 Copies £13,299.00
5,000 Copies £15,876.00
1,000 Copies £5,568.00
EXTRA: From Word document & illustrations supplied in digital format, make-up into
pages & submit proofs - (pending approval from sight of copy) £10.00 per page plus
authors corrections @ £37.00 per hour
We are hoping to print 2000 copies. The cost of design will be negligible as we are designing the book ourselves. There is some contingency for storage and distribution. At the moment the proposed list price is £9.99 but we may increase to £12.99. This is still a very competitive price for a high quality " coffee table" photo book. Once on sale between 30% and 50% of the cover price will go the retailer. At £9.99 we will make between £5.00 and £7.00 per copy before discount. On this basis 2000 sales should generate the £10,000 initially invested. Costs for reprinting are roughly £2,500 per 1000, making costs for each subsequent reprint c. £5-£7 per copy. At £9.99, each copy should make at least £3.00 profit.
Why should we sell this number of copies? Without jinxing the project, I have been asked to appear on mainstream TV to promote the project and I have several national newspapers who want to do articles. In addition I am sending press releases to all local press and TV. The book will be internationally available.
All things are a risk but I am confident we will be able to donate at least the £10,000 to charity and maybe more. We will also have a very special book which we hope will bring some kind of comfort to other families who have to bear such terrible loss.