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Nottingham Post
Nottingham Post
Jake Brigstock

Former Forest star and fiancé launch retreats near Sherwood Forest to help with bereavement

A former Nottingham Forest star and his fiancé will run retreats for individuals and couples to help them cope with bereavement.

Kris Commons, who was born in Mansfield, was a midfielder for the Reds from 2004 to 2008, and grew up supporting Forest.

Kris and his fiancé Lisa Hague have campaigned on stillborn awareness after the loss of their stillborn daughter Lola 14 years ago.

They share their story openly in the hope it will help others.

Kris said: "I've had experience of not being able to talk, being involved in what's seen as a masculine sport and I didn't think too much about taking any time off when I was at Forest.

"Within 12 hours of the birth, I was picking out the coffin and brass.

"We were saying on the phone we were ok, but we were in complete shock and didn't feel like we had any support, I went straight back to football.

Kris Commons in action for Nottingham Forest (Pete Norton/Getty Images)

"When I was going through that trauma and grief, I didn't talk about it, and I needed to reach out to a few people.

"Without know it, I was grieving for 12 months, as it didn't hit until I was eventually able to speak to people and I was then able to process.

"When the first birthday and anniversary came round, that was a huge amount to go through.

"I think it's the greatest thing to open up and talk about the grieving process and bereavement."

The couple have three healthy children, April, 12, William, 10, and Jax, nine.

They will now run retreats in Nottinghamshire for those experiencing bereavement to help others come to terms with their loss.

They say it's for any loss, and all are welcome.

Two retreats are planned so far, both of which will take place in apartments in Edwinstowe, just outside Sherwood Forest.

The first is for individuals and runs on April 1-3, and the second is for couples on May 6-8.

Kris and Lisa established the Lola Commons Fund to promote family rooms being created for grieving parents, and Lisa has been an advocate for stillbirth charity SiMBA.

Lisa Hague when she was pregnant with Lola (@lisahaguecollection)

And now she has been training to become a bereavement and grief coach.

Lisa said: "People who need help travel, and when Lola died, I'd have got on a plane and travelled, if you need help, you need help.

"We've become that family and those faces who people open up to quickly and identify with, especially in Scotland (Kris played for Celtic in Glasgow between 2011 and 2017), but you can't give people the good quality attention they deserve.

"People come up to me and show me a photo of their baby who died, and people come up to me and talk to me on a social night out and I want to give them the time they need, but talking in the pub is not the best place.

"I've been training midwives in bereavement care and ladies in hospitals that know they will be giving birth to a stillborn child.

"Grieving and bereavement is as sad as it is, and we want to create a safe space so people can share their stories."

Lisa said when she pitched the idea to Kris, he was all in.

She said: "We felt there was not much out there in terms of sessions and support groups, and we want to create that safe space, and Kris said immediately he was on board.

"At the moment, we've got more men than women booked on, and I think that says so much about how things are changing.

"Men and women grieve differently, but it's all about communication.

"This is not a publicity thing, and we're going to be hands on from start to finish."

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