Halifax children left alone with body of their dead dad for 24 hours

Helen and Chris Daykin with their daughters Pearl and Iris
Helen and Chris Daykin with their daughters Pearl and Iris

The head of a charity helping a Halifax woman campaign for improvements to child welfare in schools wants a change in the law.

Helen Daykin’s daughters Pearl and Iris were left alone with the dead body of their dad Chris for almost 24 hours after his sudden death.

Chris was looking after the two children as Helen was working away, and was due to take Pearl to school but died of heart failure the night before.

Pearl’s school tried ringing Chris, but didn’t ring Helen, with schools only required to call more than one number if the unaccounted-for child is on the at-risk register.

Linda Magistris, pictured, founder of the Good Grief Trust, is working with widowed mum Helen Daykin to influence change through the new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Bereavement Support of MPs..

She said: “Helen is delighted at how the campaign has gone. It’s spread throughout the world, but she’s completely determined to see this through.

“She’s been amazing. As soon as it happened she wanted this to change so that it never happened again.

“Her and the children are traumastised and we’re working to get the children bereavement support. But in Halifax it’s a postcode lottery so they have to wait until she’s a certain age and even then it’s not readily available.

“Helen has now moved her daughter from the school in question, but not particularly for that reason, and is working with the school, along with the council and the education department to try and change their policy.”

Linda says schools have been altering their policy in reaction to the campaign, but that they still represent a tiny proportion of schools that have taken action.

“It’s utterly avoidable that schools stop at that first number,” she said. “Statistically, a parent dies every 22 minutes and that can happen at any time of the day, anywhere.

“We need to make sure there’s someone accountable at every school.

“If the children had been on the at risk register the school would have been round there straight away.

“We hope that schools themselves take action, but we want it made into law so this cannot happen again.”