A BEREAVEMENT service is to stay open over the festive holidays to offer its help.

Cruse Bereavement Care Service has branches that cover Blackburn, Hyndburn and the Ribble Valley and Burnley Pendle and Rossendale.

Across the next few days both help-lines will be covered by staff, and a national service will remain only.

The service is for anyone who has been bereaved by death or related incidents.

The Lancashire Evening Telegraph has recently highlighted two cases where toys and flowers have been robbed off youngsters graves -- an act which has been slammed by Cruse.

Debbie Cunliffe, vice chairman of the Blackburn, Hyndburn and Ribble Valley branch said: "Coming to terms with the death of someone close is one of the most traumatic life occurrences that anyone will ever have to deal with.

"When that loss is a small child, it seems especially cruel.

"In the natural pattern of life children are our future. They are supposed to outlive adults, therefore it is intensely sad and unnatural to lose a child.

"As parents, everything we do is geared towards protecting our children, and taking care of them. This feeling continues long after the death of a loved one, and the grave often becomes the focus of that attention."

If anyone needs help they can call Cruse on 01254 207999 to speak to a trained bereavement counsellor. Over the holidays the national Cruse help-line is also available on 0870 167 1677.