Sudden is a charitable service for people who have been bereaved by a death that happened suddenly or too-soon in someone’s life.
This could be due to COVID-19 or another unexpected disease or undiagnosed medical reason, an event such as a work-place incident or terrorism, or suicide.
Following some kinds of death, for example, deaths on roads, we refer immediately into other specialist services, where we know these exist and operate to similar standards of care. The National Road Victim Service is run by the same team as Sudden and can be contacted here.
Sudden is also for people who are caring for suddenly-bereaved people.
The vision of Sudden is that people bereaved, in ways that are sudden or too soon, get the help they need at a time of darkness to move forwards to a brighter day.
Our mission is to ease the suffering of people bereaved by any kind of sudden or too-soon death.
During the current pandemic we are focused on supporting people bereaved by COVID-19 and all people bereaved in shocking ways by other causes and who are suffering from the challenges of isolation during ‘lockdowns’ and challenges of restrictions: restrictions on visiting people before they die, being close to their bodies, and memorialising in normal gatherings.
The work we do
To find out more about the help we are providing, go to Our services.
The Sudden service was launched in July 2020 after being awarded vital pandemic funding from the Government, the National Lottery Community Fund and Barclays, in recognition of Brake’s expertise in provision of early intervention care for people bereaved in unexpected and horrific circumstances.
Sudden is extremely thankful for this initial funding which enabled the Sudden service to be launched to deliver help to people in 2020 and 2021.
Sudden is hosted by the charity Brake. Brake is the national charity supporting bereaved people whose loved ones have died suddenly in road crashes. Brake has been running the acclaimed National Road Victim Service for more than two decades, which is funded by multiple government agencies.
The management team of Brake and Sudden is led by chief executive Mary Williams OBE, who founded Brake in 1995 and who has expertise in the development of charity services and promotion of best practice care for people who have suffered a bereavement in sudden and shocking circumstance.
To lead the charity, Mary works alongside a Board of Trustees, including chairperson and lawyer Deborah Johnson, who has extensive experience helping people bereaved and with catastrophic injuries through legal support. Our trustees also include people in senior positions, and with valuable expertise, gained in relevant professions, including health and safety, such as Helen Gillan, general manager of NHS Blood and Transplant. The leadership team is also advised regularly by a range of academics and practitioners in bereavement care and traumatic responses to shocking bereavements.