A new cookery course with a top hospice chef is helping people get their lives back on track after losing a loved one.
The six-week course called Cooking with Chris at the Hospice of St Francis helped change William Knight’s life after his mum Christine suddenly passed away.
William, 42, of Bennetts End, Hemel Hempstead, was used to his mum doing all the cooking.
When she died from cancer in May 2011, aged just 59, William turned to junk food, which saw his weight soar and his health suffer.
“I couldn’t cook and after Mum died, I had no motivation to. I just went to pieces,” said William.
“When I started the course I thought: What am I doing here? I burn water. If I pick up a knife, I cut my finger.
“But I quickly found out that with a bit of instruction and someone looking over my shoulder, I could do it.
“The social aspect and support for each other was great but one of the biggest things the course has given me is confidence,” he adds, explaining: “I’ve changed my name from Darren to William to mark a fresh start,
“I’ve started an accounting course, I’ve taken up sailing and gone on holiday for the first time in years.
“And this year, for the first time in my life, I’m cooking Christmas dinner for my grandparents and my uncle.
“If I can stuff a chicken, I can stuff a turkey. I think Mum would have been proud.”
The pilot scheme, led by catering manager Chris Took and his senior cook Gill Sears, has been such a hit that the Berkhamsted-based hospice plans to run two six-week courses each year, including a ground-breaking UK first course for bereaved teenagers, which will start in February.
To find out more visit www.stfrancis.org.uk or call 01442 869550.