Families reach out to parents also left grieving by loss of babies

Launching Shotton Little Angels Clare Evans, Zoe Dale and Sam Byson, with a charity football match.
Launching Shotton Little Angels Clare Evans, Zoe Dale and Sam Byson, with a charity football match.

Families who have lost a baby are campaigning to give parents like them as much time as they can with their precious child before they say their last goodbye.

Shotton Little Angels has been launched to bring people together who have been bereaved through the loss of an infant.

Zoe and John Dale's boys at their brother's grave.

Zoe and John Dale's boys at their brother's grave.

One of their first aims is to buy a cuddle cot which will be installed at Ivan Cochrane Funeral Directors in Peterlee, giving grieving mums, dads and other relatives more time to spend with their child before a service is held.

The equipment will cost £1,600, with fundraising starting in earnest as the group prepares to hold its latest event this weekend, with the group being backed by the Washington charity 4Louis which provides bereaved parents memory boxes after they suffer a stillbirth or neonatal death.

Among those to join the group is Zoe Dale, 21, who is mum to Thomas Dale, three, and Jack, two.

Zoe, who works at Countrystyle Foods, and husband John, 27, lost their son Jayden four years ago when she was just 16 weeks pregnant after he suffered kidney problems.

We want to be able to give others that extra time with their baby.

Zoe Dale

She said: “We want to be able to give others that extra time with their baby.

“When Jayden was born, we never got the chance to bring him home, which was really hard for us,

“We spoke to Ivan’s daughter about this first and we want to get a cuddle cot because there’s nothing like it available in this area and they have said they will also get in touch with other funeral directors to let them know it can be used.

“We want to be able to help these other families that wouldn’t have that time otherwise.”

Launching Shotton Little Angels Zoe Dale, Nicole Westgarth, Clare Evans, and Sam Byson, with Funeral Director Ivan Cochrane.

Launching Shotton Little Angels Zoe Dale, Nicole Westgarth, Clare Evans, and Sam Byson, with Funeral Director Ivan Cochrane.

Other members of the group include Samantha Bryson, who along with partner Lennie Evans, both 24, lost son Lennie-Kai Evans in August last year when he was born at 21 weeks when he was stillborn and then suffered more heartache this July when Francesca-May Evans was also born sleeping at 20 weeks.

Samantha, who works as a car valeter at Shotton Part Exchange Centre, said: “I think it’s a good idea to raise the funds for the cot so that people like us can spend time with their babies longer before they are lay to rest.”

Another to get involved is Clare Evans, 34, a colleague of Samanatha’s whose son Matthew Thomas Smith was born at 23 weeks weighing just 1lb 7oz.

Her “little fighter” is now six-years-old and spent the first few months in Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.

The group has sent its thanks to all those who have donated items as prizes or cash so far.

Samantha and Clare are leading plans for a Halloween-themed funday at Shotton Comrades Club this Sunday from 1.30pm to 5pm, with entry £1 and the afternoon to feature a disco, a singer, a visit from characters, face painting, raffle and tombola.

It will follow on from a parents vs parents football game which was held last Sunday at the community park off Station Road, when parents of children in Shotton Colts Under 12s took on those from the club’s under 10s team.

There was also a penalty shoot out for youngsters, as well as a tuck shop selling treats.

The families have set up the In Memory Of Shotton’s Little Angels Facebook page to help spread the word.