RADIO DJ Grant Stott has given his backing to a charity that helps parents cope with their baby’s death by signing up as its new patron.
SiMBA, which was formed in 2005, has expanded to provide its support at 16 maternity units across Scotland – including St John’s in Livingston and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary – to help mothers and fathers deal with their grief.
Today, the charity also unveiled a fresh board of trustees at Prestonfield Hotel as founder Sara Fitzsimmons, from Dunbar, revealed plans to further aid parents dealing with tragedy during pregnancy or shortly after childbirth.
Forth One presenter Mr Stott said he was “honoured” to take on the patron role.
The organisation, which already provides parents with memory boxes, a private birthing and grieving room at hospitals and a chance to create a special engraving on a memory tree, aims to offer more bereavement services than ever before.
Sara, 41, who has worked as a midwife for more than 16 years, explained: “At the start we were really small but we’re a national charity now, and we felt it was time to introduce new people and allow those already involved to get to know each other.
“Because we’ve got bigger, we needed more hands on board, so we’ve welcomed new trustees Dian Ward, Lothian Branch UNISON rep Tam Waterson and Tracy Drever.
“We hounded and hounded Grant Stott and he kindly offered to be our patron.
“We set up the charity to help families in any way possible during such a difficult time.
“As a midwife I have seen many, many people who have needed support at the loss of a baby. My grandmother lost twins and she never recovered.
“There was no memory box, and she was affected for the rest of her life. She got no recognition, and she didn’t think it was OK for her to talk about what happened.
“You find people never talk about the baby after something like that, but that is what people need.”
She added: “We fill the memory box with the blanket put with the baby when born, foot and hand prints and their nameband.
“We have established family rooms for parents and we have a tree of tranquility, which allows parents to add leaves – little copper engravings – to remember their child by.
“We plan to expand further and target smaller units in the near future.”
Grant Stott said: “I met Sara and the girls a number of years ago when they were starting up. In effect, what they do is so simple, but it makes such a difference to the parents they help.
“It is such a sensitive and effective way of dealing with the healing process. They do all the hard work, but I was honoured to be asked to be patron.”
Find out more about the charity at www.simbacharity.org.uk
‘I was given a memory’
Salon owner Dian Ward, 37, lives in Corstorphine with her husband Barry, 38, and two children Abbie, eight, and Daniel, three.
Dian says: “I had a little boy, Thomas, who died at 22 weeks. I was in St John’s for six weeks as I was bleeding every day and they told me one Friday that he wouldn’t make it. They induced the birth and he was born on March 14, 2007.
“SiMBA provided me with a memory box and I had Thomas in a family room.
“My son, Daniel, was my tenth pregnancy and we are so glad to have two wonderful kids.”