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Couple’s thanks to hospice which created precious memories after five-day-old baby died

PUBLISHED: 12:56 23 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:56 23 June 2020

Joshua Howlett lived for just five days. Pictures: supplied by EACH

Joshua Howlett lived for just five days. Pictures: supplied by EACH

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A couple whose five-day-old baby died have thanked the hospice which allowed them to create precious memories for their family.

Philip and Rebekah Howlett with their sons James, three, left, and Ben, seven. Pictures: supplied by EACHPhilip and Rebekah Howlett with their sons James, three, left, and Ben, seven. Pictures: supplied by EACH

Parents Philip Howlett, a farmer, and Rebekah, from Holme Hale, were devastated after Joshua died on April 24, 2015.

The couple were introduced to East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) by the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, and after attending a monthly bereavement group Mrs Howlett received phone calls from the charity every two weeks as the anniversary of Josh’s birthday and death came around.

They have spoken about their experience during Children’s Hospice Week, which runs from June 22 to 28.

She said: “Being able to talk on the phone has given me the support I’ve needed. I think I have more anxiety as a bereaved parent, but the calls make me feel more confident as a parent.”

The couple were also allowed to put handprints of Josh and his brother Ben, then aged two, on a plate.

EACH also helped create further memory items, such as handprints on a plant pot, footprints on a ceramic heart, footprints on a canvas and hand and foot casts, without which Mrs Howlett said she would not have known Josh had the same wonky toes as she does.

The parents now have a handprint in clay for each of their three children, including James, three, on display alongside a photo.

She said: “We wouldn’t have had any of the memory items without EACH. We’re so grateful for them.”

Josh was born on Monday, April 20, 2015, at 30 weeks and four days gestation at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn. He had PPHN (persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn), a serious breathing condition. He was transferred to the NNUH, where scans showed he had bleeds on his brain, and he died in his parents’ arms on the Friday.

Mrs Howlett, an accountant at Larking Gowen, received counselling sessions for more than a year.

She added: “We’ll always wonder what Josh would’ve been like. Milestones such as his first smile, first step, first day at school, we have huge sadness we never got to experience. I never got to see his eyes or hear him cry.”

For more information on EACH, visit each.org.uk/


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