Coventry University honours Donna Hodges for her work supporting bereaved parents

Coventry University recognises Donna Hodges significant charitable support of bereaved families, and her dedication to providing hope and compassion to grieving parents with an honorary doctorate.

In recognition of her work, Donna Hodges was presented with an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration by Coventry University during a ceremony on 13th November 2023.

Bodie died in 2012, but from that sorrow both Donna and Nick Hodges have worked tirelessly to support other families going through similar experiences across Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland. 

“You just don’t know what the world of being a bereaved parent is like until it happens. Nick started to fundraise to keep Bodie’s name out there and it was key to the way he grieved. We found that we were actually quite good at fundraising, so we set up the charity. 

“We’ve always taken a very professional, considered approach, carefully looking at areas where there are gaps in services and seeing what we can do to help. 

Today Bodie’s Foundation has nine staff, and our main mission is simply to make sure bereaved families don’t feel isolated. For some families this is the only place where they can talk about their child who has died or say their name in a therapeutic space. 

We have an amazing team, it’s not easy working in this area, there’s a lot of trauma, but I’m blessed to have such great people around me“.

Being presented with an Honorary Doctorate from Coventry University is a massive honour, it was a real surprise and it’s come out of nowhere. It’s really special for the charity too, it’s recognition of everything that we have achieved over the past ten years and it’s an amazing thing to happen in this anniversary year, I feel very overwhelmed by it all.

The Bodie Hodges Foundation was founded in 2013 and provides one-to-one bereavement counselling to families for the first two years after a child’s death, alongside bereavement peer support groups for parents and siblings. 

The charity has since gone from strength to strength and also runs a national scheme called Bodie’s Treasured Memory Bags for bereaved siblings, providing grief resources to children to encourage conversations about death, helping them to understand grief and to remember their sibling. 

Shona Green, Head of Academic Studies at CUC, nominated Donna for the award. 

I used to work as a nurse at Leicester Royal Infirmary and see a picture of Bodie’s face every time I walked in the building. It’s an awful thing to have happened but the determination Donna has shown to help other parents is amazing. She is just an incredible person and as an organisation like Coventry University helping students into the medical profession, Donna really does act as an inspiration


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