Memory box prompts Hemsby couple’s bereavement donation

Lindsey and James Paterson

Lindsey and James Paterson - Credit: Archant

A couple who lost their baby daughter at birth have raised more than £1600 for a charity and their local hospital.

Lindsey and James Paterson's daughter Arabella was stillborn when she arrived at the James Paget Hospital in July this year.

Just a couple of weeks earlier, the couple had announced to family and friend that, after years of trying, they were expecting their first child.

The experience of losing baby Arabella made Lindsey and James, of Hemsby, determined to raise money for the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity (SANDS) and the hospital's mortuary and bereavement.

Now, their efforts have resulted in more than £800 being donated to both the charity and the hospital, after they held a fundraising party including an auction.

Their fundraising for the hospital was prompted by the 'memory box' they received from the bereavement team – and the support given by staff.

'Everyone was absolutely amazing, understanding, caring, thoughtful and kind,' said Lindsey. 'I cannot express our gratitude to everyone involved for the time they took in making us feel looked after and cared about. It makes me emotional now to think about how well we were treated, and how that went a huge way to help us to cope with the awful situation we found ourselves in.'

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Memory boxes are given out by the bereavement team at the hospital. The boxes allow parents who have lost a baby to retain keepsakes such as photos, hand/foot prints and clothes.

'We treasure our memory box,' said Lindsey. 'We have some of Arabella's ashes in little hearts that we keep with us at all times, some flower seeds we could grow in her memory, photographs, the little outfit she was in when they took the photos, lots of things to remind us of her. It has been key for us as part of coping with and processing what happened.'

The couple held their fundraising party in September and a guest list of 30 quickly turned into 80 people.

The auction included items such as books, CDs and photographs from celebrities including Stephen Fry, Noel Edmunds, Rick Stein and Jim Bowen – and there was also a tombola with donated prizes from the Norwich Theatre Royal, Bills Restaurant and Sgt Peppers.

James Paget Hospital mortuary and bereavement manager Daryl Bourn said: 'We are all overwhelmed by Lindsey and James' generosity. The donation will enable us to carry on supporting other families with memory boxes.'

Lindsey and James Paterson present a cheque to mortuary and bereavement team members Katie Lochrie (left) and Natalie While (right).