Monday 19 March 2018

Creacon's Derek to help fire victims

Grenfell Tower on the morning after the fire
Grenfell Tower on the morning after the fire

Esther Hayden

Derek O'Neill, the owner of Creacon Lodge, will fly into London to help Grenfell survivors.

Derek who is an internationally acclaimed psychotherapist, motivational speaker and author will be attempting to help the victims of the tower block inferno come to terms with the appalling tragedy that killed at least 80 people.

Following the fire, which occurred on June 14 in London, Derek wanted to find a way to help those affected by the tragedy.

'When that tragedy took place, friends in London reached out to me and said, 'Derek, you're the ideal guy to help people get their head around what happened'

'I want to help those affected to move forward and achieve stuff again, I want to help them find a way to try to get past the anger and the blame.'

Derek will work with local activist Michael Defoe, who runs the Harrow Club, a youth and community centre based minutes from Grenfell Tower, when he arrives in London this Friday, August 11, to stage a series of mental health and wellbeing workshops for those affected by the fire.

'I'm going to come in and do a free workshop which is completely open for anyone affected by the tragedy,' he said.

'From those who have lost their homes and relatives of the victims to members of the emergency services - and anyone else who has been affected by it.

'Of course I don't know truly how it must feel to go through something so horrific as that - but I do know if those people don't get some help soon they'll never recover. And I can do that by sharing the little bit of wisdom I've got - not for the celebrities and so-called important people with money… but for ordinary people.'Michael Defoe has seen at first-hand just how traumatised those people were as they fled the inferno.

'Our club was the first place to open and start taking in residents from the tower.

'It was devastating to see people come in with blackened faces having just escaped from the smoke. I had a man who'd lost his wife. He said, 'I had her hand one minute and then she was missing the next'. Then there were the young kids, the babies that had been thrown out of windows - a whole host of horror stories.

'People are traumatised and angry, with many different symptoms, and Derek's approach is another means of healing them, supporting them and hopefully bringing some kind of relief.'

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