Arts > Living with death

07 April 2016 | by D.J. Taylor

Living with death


Radio 1 presenter Clara Amfo, the effervescent impresario of that station’s “rockest record” and its celebrated “Live Lounge” feature, was leaving the Metro on her way to take part in last March’s Paris half-marathon when her mobile phone rang. The call came from her sister, and brought the shocking news that their father had died suddenly of a heart attack. Abandoning the race, Amfo went back to London and embarked on the long and complex task of coming to terms with her grief.

Among other things, this latest episode of the Radio 1 “Stories” franchise (29 March) gave a statistical gloss to this individual tragedy. Nearly 24,000 children below the age of 16, it turns out, are likely to lose a parent in 2016. Drawing on her own experience of her first year without dad – this was chronicled by way of a tape-recorded diary – as well as by interviewing bereaved teenagers and talking to professionals in the field, Amfo determined to explore exactly what effect parental death might have on the young people left behind.


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