A Chipperfield woman spoke candidly about how a hospice cooking class helped her cope with grief when she appeared on a Radio 4 food programme.

Former teaching assistant Sandra Wicks told host Sheila Dillon how the Cooking with Chris course – run by St Francis Hospice to teach recently bereaved people vital skills in the kitchen – not only got her cooking and eating properly again but also gave her friendship after she suddenly lost her husband Terry in April of last year.

The 68-year-old said: “I didn’t know which way to turn to start with. I thought what’s all this going to be about but we’re all the same, we’ve all lost partners and I saw a light at the end of the tunnel.

“We’ve made some lovely things – cakes and savoury dishes. One of the most delicious dishes I’ve learned to cook here is lamb and apricot casserole, which I’ve made many, many times, but the biggest thing the course has given me is friendship with people who’ve all been through the same and where it doesn’t matter if you laugh or cry.”

The hospice runs two six-week courses a year for adults and for teenagers, and each week chef Chris Took and his team of staff and volunteers lead up to eight participants as they take it in turns to prepare starters, main courses and puddings, learn practical cooking skills, and pick up tips on buying and preparing fresh ingredients, batch cooking, using left-overs, and cooking for one.