Charity set up in memory of tragic Washington baby launches parent packs

From left: Glen Wilson, Jonny Pickbourne and his daughter, Claire Briggs with baby Rosie, Kelvin Briggs, Alan Horn and Paul Pattison.
From left: Glen Wilson, Jonny Pickbourne and his daughter, Claire Briggs with baby Rosie, Kelvin Briggs, Alan Horn and Paul Pattison.
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A charity set up in memory of a Wearside baby has launched its latest project.

Just for Alfie was set up by the family of Alfie Briggs, a premature baby boy who died aged just 31 days in November 2013.

One of the parent packs which are to be provided at the neo natal unit.

One of the parent packs which are to be provided at the neo natal unit.

Since then his parents, Claire and Kelvin Briggs, who live in Columbia, Washington, have raised thousands of pounds in his memory to support Sunderland Royal’s Neonatal Unit, where Alfie was cared for, and the families who use it, as well as other units in hospitals across the region.

The charity has now launched its new Parent Packs, which will be donated to the units for parents who find themselves there.

Claire, 29, a university student, said the packs are filled with essentials such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, things parents will need.

She added: “I spoke to a lot of parents who had been in that position and they thought it was a fantastic idea. When you find yourself in that position there is too much happening to think about the basics.”

Tragic Alfie Briggs, who died at just a month old after being born prematurely.

Tragic Alfie Briggs, who died at just a month old after being born prematurely.

Also going into the packs are bonding squares, which are two knitted squares, one goes into the incubator with the baby and the other one is tucked into mum’s top.

Claire said: “The squares are swapped around every day, so the baby can smell their mammy at all times. A lot of people have been knitting the squares for us.”

Claire and roofer Kelvin, 26, who are also parents to Alix, six, Paige, three and four-month-old Rosie, are always delighted by the support the charity gets from family and friends.

The latest activities have included a group of their friends, Glen Wilson, Jonny Pickbourne, Alan Horn and Paul Patterson, raising hundreds of pounds by cycling from Wembley to Washington in three days.

Money is also pouring in from the annual Alfie Cup football match, where under 30s take on the over 30s. Again the over 30s won the match and to date more than £600 has been raised through it.

Alfie was born 15 weeks early, weighing 1lb 7oz, and at ten days old he had successful minor heart surgery. However, on December 5, the tiny youngster suddenly became ill and doctors discovered he was suffering from a necrotizing enterocolitis, which caused his bowel to perforate, and nothing more could be done for him.

Anyone who would like to raise money for the charity, or donate items for the parent packs, can visit www.facebook.com/justforalfie