A group of over-50s runners is helping grieving families by providing keepsakes for them to treasure forever.
The Goal-den Girls group has pledged to supply Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust with tiny knitted blankets for the next few years – to be given to families who suffer the loss of a baby in early pregnancy, before 16 weeks.
Megan Murray, bereavement support nurse specialist, said: “Parents will be given lots of choices at this difficult time to help them with the grief of losing their baby.
“Some families will want to see their tiny baby and some will decline.
“Where bereaved parents choose to see their baby, this is always done with the greatest respect and dignity, so we place the baby in little pocket blankets. The blankets can then be kept as a keepsake for the parents. We also offer families memory boxes donated by other charitable groups.”
Tricia Ellis, is the leader of the Goal-den Girls – set up with the challenge of getting women aged 50-plus to run a marathon in the Olympic year 2012, but now they spend their time running to raise money for charitable causes. She was keen to do something to help parents, after someone she knew lost a baby in the early weeks of pregnancy.
She said: “The thing that stuck in my mind was their sorrow at having nothing to remember their baby by. It was too early for them to have bought clothes or toys and they said ‘We don’t even have a button that was hers’.
“Then I heard about the blankets given to people who wanted to see the baby and I thought how lovely that was and wanted to help.
“We’ve enlisted the help of a craft knitter, Jane Rogan, who makes the blankets for us and we help by providing the materials.
“We’re calling them Goal-den Pockets. Each Goal-den pocket has a little button sewn on to it, in recognition of those words, which will stick with me. We will provide the pockets for the next five years.”
It takes Jane about an hour to knit each pocket.
Jane and the Goal-den Girls recently visited Blackpool Victoria Hospital to hand over the first batch of 50 pockets.
Sister Sue Brooks said: “Not all parents wish to see their babies, but for those who do these blankets will be very useful.
“We show the baby in a small crib, with the blanket covering the body, so they only really see the baby’s head. It can make the process much more bearable.
“We’re really grateful to the Goal-den Girls for supplying us with the blankets. I know they will make a real difference to mothers who have sadly lost their babies.”