The two photos in this post today have been provided by Charlotte (Charlie) Lingard. The first is Hannah and Charlie’s daughter Emma and the other other is a photo taken by Charlie at the exact moment of Han’s passing.
We are inviting you to send in your memories and photos of Hannah so that we can build a tribute page to her on the Foundation’s website. If you have anything you would like to contribute please email email@example.com
Many thanks to Charlie for providing her own memories of Han. We know it was a difficult thing to do and we are grateful to you for making time to do this. Please take some time to read Charlie’s words and if you knew Han take some time out to remember her.
Tell us about yourself
I am just me, nothing special, but Hannah was. In around 2006, I became a friend of Hannah, her Mum, Nicki, and her brother Theo. My role within the family dynamics was to get Hannah out of scrapes in her teenage years whilst still at school – well, on the days that she attended! Hannah was clever and a very quick learner. Thankfully, she could pull it back. I earned my stars and was awarded the honorary title of “fairy” Godmother to both Hannah and Theo. Believe me, when I say that I had to earn my “stars” to gain this prestigious accolade, it was no mean feat!
I have two grown up children, A.J my son and Emma my daughter. Both make me very proud to be their Mum.
The realisation and sadness of Hannah’s passing has taught me a hard lesson; namely that no one can predict the future. Hannah was so special, full of talent and bags of potential.
How did you meet Hannah?
Hannah and my daughter, Emma, attended the same school and were part of a tight-knit group of friends. One Saturday afternoon, after being at work all day, I was sat in the car outside Hannah’s house waiting to pick Emma up when, suddenly, the door was flung open. Emma announced that Nicki had asked “Do you want to come inside for a cup of tea?” Somewhat taken aback, I replied, “We need to go home.” Nonetheless, I was persuaded to go inside, thoroughly enjoyed my cuppa and the ensuing conversation. We’ve been friends ever since.
Hannah is so special to me especially then and now, deep in my heart. I have such fond memories of her, but tapered with sadness (I can no longer see her). I can remember her making me laugh and smile simultaneously. These memories are rock solid to my core.
What was Hannah like?
Whilst reading this, if you didn’t know Hannah, then you might think that I am choosing to idolise her memory. This is not true. I am being completely honest when I say that Hannah was a vivacious and curvaceous individual! She had a lively and endearing personality. Hannah lit up the room (just being Hannah) with her infectious joie de vivre and electrifying, warm smile.
She was adventurous, had an unsurpassed zest for life, enthusiastic in everything she did, with a propensity to be a little naughty. This only increased Hannah’s overall attractiveness both to friends and family alike. Such is the joy of knowing Hannah: the most beautiful, unique person for all the right reasons.
After Hannah left school, she trained to become a Chartered Accountant and qualified before going away on her life adventure, travelling in India. Our roles had gone around in full circles, as Hannah gladly taught me financial practices (which I needed to know) with tremendous patience. She was an outstanding talent for her chosen career being exceptionally quick and accurate with figures.
How did the Hannah Whitley Foundation come to fruition?
This poses the question, why Hannah? Why is she no longer with us? There is no meaningful answer.
Hannah loved yoga and mindfulness training so helping Nicki set up the Foundation was a no brainer for me. It began with a Just Giving Page and developed from there. It became an obvious choice as a genuine and worthwhile legacy to Hannah.
What advice can you give to those suffering from bereavement?
I only have an opinion and am not qualified to give advice. My opinion, rightly or wrongly, is that I don’t believe there is any correct way to grieve for the loss of a loved one. What is right for you, is right for you.
Experience has taught me that the complex nature of the human brain means that we all have some personality traits which can be similar. Regarding grief however, this is a unique circumstance to everybody.
Witnessing first-hand, Hannah’s Mum, Nicki, losing her daughter had a significant impact upon myself. I felt useless, but saw the positivity of practising yoga and meditation. Nicki likewise seemed to derive some solace and peace of mind, whilst suffering from every parent’s worst nightmare. Words seem futile, bringing back unimaginable, painful memories. This is of course only my opinion.
I now find that I am going to contradict myself by offering this advice – seek out the free yoga classes, due to the generosity of the Hannah Whitley Foundation. Everyone is welcome.
Our next restorative class is this Sunday at 12.30pm at Yoga on the Edge. Our classes are always free to those in need. You don’t have to be grieving to join our classes, maybe the stresses of life are too much for you at the moment and you could do with taking an hour out to relax. We are here to help you. All we ask is that you book in advance here: https://yogaontheedge.co.uk/timetable/