A COUPLE who suffered the trauma of losing their son in childbirth have used the experience to positive effect by raising cash for the charity which helped them through their ordeal.
Claire Matchett, 32, and Gordy Smith, 39, were left devastated when their son, William, was stillborn at the Royal Derby Hospital on May 31.
The couple were so impressed with the help and support they received from stillborn and neonatal death charity SANDS that they have spent the months since William’s death raising more than £1,300 for the organisation’s Burton branch.
Ms Matchett, from Overseal, told the Mail: “We were both in real shock when we lost William. I’d gone into labour and was taken into hospital expecting to come back with a baby. I’d had no real problems during my pregnancy.
“The support we had from SANDS helped us get through it. They paid for us to have a separate, private room in the maternity ward at the hospital and they sorted out photographs and hand and footprints of the baby for us to keep.
“I didn’t think I’d want those sort of things but when you come home and the shock has worn off it’s very important because otherwise it’s as if you have nothing to say you’ve had a baby.
“SANDS gave us so much help and we just wanted to put something back. Raising money for the charity helped us to do something positive and to look forward.”
The couple, who both run for Hatton Darts Running Club, collected money for the charity at William’s funeral and organised a treasure hunt in August with the help of Dr Matt Long, from Burton Athletics Club.
Ms Matchett, who has a four-year-old son, Rowan, also ran the Big Fun Run in Derby in August, while more money was provided by employees from her mother’s firm, Coalville-based Kocher and Beck, and by staff at HMP Foston Hall, where Mr Smith’s mother works.
Meanwhile, Hatton Darts runner Naomi Warr raised more than £500 for SANDS in William’s memory by completing the Nottingham Ironman triathlon.
The couple still benefit from the help offered by the charity, including attending a monthly group which allows them to share their experiences with others who’ve been through the same trauma.
Ms Matchett said: “We are quite forward people and we talk about William but often people try to sweep it under the carpet. They don’t like to talk about it, but it’s a very common thing – 17 babies are stillborn every day.”
The couple plan to continue their fund-raising efforts by staging one and three-mile fun runs in Burton next year.
Anyone who wishes to donate to the charity, or who wants information, advice or support, is asked to telephone Hazel Barratt at Burton SANDS on 07789 027614.