Bereaved family holds out its hand to others

Ethan Watson

Ethan Watson

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A family has raised more than £1,700 to help a hospital support parents whose babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth – in memory of their son.

Fiona and Stewart Watson’s son, Toby, was stillborn on December 8 2012 at Airedale Hospital in Steeton.

In his memory family and friends organised a coffee morning, “Toby’s Day”, to raise funds for a new bereavement suite on the labour ward at the hospital.

Mrs Watson, of Silsden, said: “The day itself was a happy event with lots of fun activities for the children. We really felt the local community pulled together to support us and we were delighted and overwhelmed by people’s kindness and generosity.”

More than 200 people attended the event to support the family.

Mrs Watson, who is also mother to Ethan, seven, and nine-year-old Matthew, said: “We raised a staggering £1,730 for the labour ward and we are delighted to have a say in where the money will go.

“Toby’s Day allowed us to show our appreciation to the hospital and its staff and gave us the chance to help improve facilities for families in similar situations.”

Claire Matthews, head of midwifery at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Sadly, around 4,000 babies are stillborn in the UK each year so unfortunately it is something we deal with more often than people may think.

“Having a separate area for parents to spend time with their baby afterwards is really important for families who go through this sad experience.

“I would like to thank Fiona and Stewart for their generosity and for helping us to ensure that parents in similar situations will have a more suitable space to come to terms with their sad loss.”

The new bereavement suite includes a lounge with private decked patio area, a double bedroom and an en-suite shower and toilet.

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