South Woodford resident Michael Walford-Grant is using his recent book publishing deal to raise funds for The Compassionate Friends, an organisation that supports bereaved parents

In 2002, on a cold, dark November morning, my wife and I lost our beautiful boy, William. He was 13 years old, doing his paper round on his bike before school to save up enough money to go on holiday to Disney World in Florida. He was our only child. The loss was devastating. The memory of the policeman arriving at our front door at 7.30 in the morning will remain with me forever.

Since then, my wife and I have rebuilt our lives, one slow, painful step after another. We have both experienced some very dark moments along the way. 

In 2017, I joined The Compassionate Friends as a helpline volunteer. The charity provides a range of support services for bereaved parents and siblings. I help most Monday evenings. Because all the volunteers have experienced the loss of a child, the parents calling the helpline really appreciate the fact that when they call, they get to speak to someone who has gone through something similar to them. The work is very satisfying, albeit emotional at times. 

Away from the charity, in November of last year, I signed an international book publishing deal with an American publishing house. I am not an author, so securing the contract was, and is, very exciting. I am an experienced sales professional, and after a career of working for companies, I decided to start my own sales consulting practice. One month before the pandemic hit, so not great timing!

However, it is through this that I came up with the idea for the book Sales Unplugged: The Invaluable “Go To Guide” for Busy B2B Salespeople. It is a book of sales best practices, targeted at business-to-business sales professionals. It took about nine months to put together and draws upon a vast array of materials and experience, acquired and collated over a career spanning more than 30 years. Part two of the book is a collection of stories and anecdotes, ranging from the dramatic to the funny to the deeply personal. The locations for the stories include Dublin, New York, Abu Dhabi and Austria, plus, of course, my home town, London. 

I am proud of my profession and passionate about giving something back after experiencing my loss, which is unlike any other type of bereavement. So, I am using my book to raise funds. 

The charity is always in need of money to enable us to continue to support bereaved parents and siblings with a comprehensive range of support services. My target is to raise £1,000 by the end of the year.

If you would like to donate, and optionally acquire a copy of the book, it would mean a great to deal me. Thank you.

For more information and to donate, visit swvg.co.uk/tcf

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