Mum’s heartache at losing her son spurs her on to help others

Kelvin and Claire Briggs with Alix, seven, one-year-old Rosie, and Paige, four.
Kelvin and Claire Briggs with Alix, seven, one-year-old Rosie, and Paige, four.
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A Wearside mum who lost her beloved son is planning a new career in his memory.

Claire Briggs and her husband Kelvin, faced every parent’s nightmare when they had to say goodbye to their child, Alfie, when he was just 31 days old.

Claire Briggs has been accepted onto a children's nurse course.

Claire Briggs has been accepted onto a children's nurse course.

Tot Alfie had been born prematurely in November 2013 via an emergency Caesarian section, when Claire was just 25 weeks pregnant and he was delivered weighing 1lb 7oz.

He underwent heart surgery when he was 10 days old and his condition continued to improve, but he became ill, with doctors discovering he was suffering from necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), which caused his bowel to perforate.

The Washington couple – who are also parents to daughters Alix, seven, Paige, four, and one-year-old Rosie, were told there was nothing that could be done to save him.

Since his death, the family have worked to help others through their charity, Just for Alfie, and have campaigned to urge the Government to introduce compulsory training to neonatal staff, to increase their understanding of the condition.

Tragic Alife Briggs, who died when he was just a month old.

Tragic Alife Briggs, who died when he was just a month old.

They have raised about £10,000, which has gone to support families with babies in neonatal units in the region, particularly Sunderland Royal’s Neonatal Unit, where Alfie was cared for.

Now Claire, 30, is heading for a new career as a children’s nurse after gaining a place on the course at Teesside University.

She said: “I never really knew what I wanted to do until now. I didn’t think I would get a place because it is so competitive, but I am really looking forward to it.

“You never really get over losing a child, and I wouldn’t want to. There are still times when it hits me what we went through and that he’s gone.

“But I try to remain positive. I do believe Alfie was sent to us for a reason and I don’t want to waste that reason.”

Claire wants to eventually become a nurse in a neonatal unit to help other families facing what she and roofer Kelvin, 27, went through.

The Just for Alfie charity is organising the annual disco fun day, which will take place on Sunday, April 3, at The Stella pub in Albany, Washington, from 1pm to 5pm.

Everyone is welcome to go along and there will be lots of fun and activities for the children, including mountains of Easter eggs, face painting, hot dogs, tuck shop, raffle and tombola.

To find out more about the charity, visit www.facebook.com/justforalfie.