A PICNIC for young widows and widowers is taking place this month.

Held by national charity WAY (Widowed and Young), which currently has 158 members in Berkshire, most of the families have been bereaved before they turned 50.

One of the members, Vanessa Francesconi, said: "My husband died two years ago from aggressive cancer, leaving me and our two daughters, who were 11 and 13.

"I found WAY and it has been a lifesaver for me, showing me there are other people out there in the same position, and supporting me and my children with practical advice and emotional support."

As part of WAY's activities, each local area holds an annual picnic where families and members get together for the first time or to catch up with old friends and support each other.

Hundreds of widows and widowers will be meeting up across the country for the Big Picnic weekend organised by the charity.

On May 19, a picnic for Berkshire members will be held at Dinton Pastures to allow people to come together and be around those who understand their loss.

Local volunteer Norman Smart, who is from Reading, said: "It's a chance for WAY members and their families to get together with people in the local area who understand what they're going through.

"It's also a chance to reach out to other people who have been widowed at a young age, to show them there is support out there through WAY.

"And of course, to eat cake!”

Widowed and Young supports anyone aged 50 or under who is overcoming the loss of a partner – whether they were married or not, with or without children, whatever their sexual orientation.

It is a peer-to-peer support network run by volunteers who have been bereaved at a young age themselves, so they understand exactly what other members are going through.

The picnic at Dinton Pastures will take place at 1pm.