Mitch Winehouse: If you want to stop taking heroin, there’s very little help available
“Nobody should know what it feels like to bury a child”, Mitch Winehouse states ruefully. “The natural process is that you bury your grandparents, your parents, but to bury a child…” he trails off, before composing himself and adding that Amy was in fact cremated. “Everybody has to deal with it in their own way. Some people deal with it positively and some people deal with it negatively.”
It’s nearly a year since one of the UK’s most celebrated modern musical icons passed away after a much-publicised battle with addiction, which ended at the tragically young age of 27 in July last year.
Since then, Amy Winehouse’s father Mitch has been devoting his time to the foundation he set up in his daughter’s name. Speaking to him just before a charity performance recently, he outlined his vision; “We’re just trying to help as many disadvantaged children as we can, that’s the biggest hope for the Amy Winehouse Foundation; those in hospices, those suffering from ill health, life limiting illnesses, economical hardship…”
Although obviously still dealing with his own grieving process, Mitch and his team have visited a large number of sick children over the past 10 months.
“What it makes us realise is how lucky we were to have Amy for the amount of time that we had her. Nearly 28 years. One of the hospices that we visited in Essex, a five-year-old child called Louise had died there just a few days earlier. So it kind of puts everything into perspective.”
Recalling the instant he thought of the idea for the foundation is a painful one, as it was the same moment he heard of his daughter’s death:
“It came into my head immediately. Obviously I was in a state of shock. I was in America. Coming back from New York it was horrendous knowing what was waiting for me. We managed to deal with it; we managed to do everything we had to do to give Amy a good send off, and now, we have to keep going and we’re raising lots and lots of money, and the bottom line is, that when we’re all gone, and when this building’s gone, they’ll still be talking about Amy Winehouse. So that’s important, isn’t it?”
As well as raising money for charitable causes, also on Mitch’s agenda is lobbying the Government and the NBH on issues surrounding recovery from addiction. Because there’s no difference, Mitch believes, to someone who’s suffering from drug addiction to someone who’s suffering from cancer.
“Both are illnesses and both require treatment. And if you’ve got cancer you’ll be well looked after but if you’re a heroin user and you want to stop taking heroin, there’s very little help available for you residentially, unless of course you’re in the prison system.”
“It’s been difficult”, Mitch says when asked about focusing on the work with the foundation whilst simultaneously dealing with the grieving process, “We’ve got a great team and we all work together. It is difficult to focus sometimes, but there’s so much to do – the alternative is to just sit around and brood, which I don’t want to do. When we go into the hospices and see how much Amy meant to the children and to the parents and the staff, that’s very heart warming, everyone loved her. She’s bringing a lot of hope to a lot of kids”.Tagged in: addiction, alcohol, Amy Winehouse, Amy Winehouse Foundation, drugs, heroin, Mitch Winehouse
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