Sunderland parents’ Downing Street invite after baby charity work

Susan Jackson with her daughter Ella and husband Stephen.
Susan Jackson with her daughter Ella and husband Stephen.
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DEDICATED parents are making a political impact with their charity work.

Susan and Stephen Jackson began collecting money for baby charity Tommy’s and Sunderland-based organisation Health Scented, after one of their twin daughters, Evie, was stillborn at under 35 weeks in 2010.

Since then the Red House couple have raised almost £10,000, and last month were invited by Tommy’s to 10 Downing Street, to an event hosted by the Prime Minister’s wife Samantha Cameron.

The meeting aimed to raise awareness of the work the charity does researching stillbirths, and the support it offers families.

Susan, 29, said it was an honour to be invited.

“It was fab,” she told the Echo.

“I was honoured because we were being recognised for the work we have done, and representing Evie. Stephen was proud to be invited too.

“When we lost her, the reason we chose Tommy’s was because there was no explanation for her death, and they do so much research into stillbirths.”

Susan, mother to Evie’s twin sister Ella, three, said her daughter’s death was traumatic.

“My problem was that there was no explanation for it,” she said. “The pregnancy was perfect.

“I still have Ella, so it could have been a lot worse, but I couldn’t understand it.”

A post mortem examination revealed Evie died because a blood vessel had crossed into the umbilical cord and stopped the flow of blood to her brain.

“I had to find a reason for it so I didn’t blame myself,” said Susan.

“I felt guilty because I still had one baby and I was grieving, when other mums left the hospital without a baby.

“There are 11 stillbirths in the UK every day, which is shocking.”

Susan received counselling and holistic therapies from Health Scented, which helped her deal with the loss.

“It was just like going in for a chat,” she said.

“I didn’t want to go for bereavement counselling, I didn’t think it was for me.

“But Health Scented helped me to deal with how I was feeling.”

The couple began fund-raising in November 2010, and have now reached £9,431.

“It is a family effort to raise the money,” Susan added.

“We scattered Evie’s ashes at Hetton Lyons Cricket Club, because my family have always played and worked there, and we raise a lot of the money there, so we felt that by scattering the ashes there, we are not leaving her out.

“Ella helps, and knows that we have fairs and events to raise money for her sister.

“We try to do it in a nice way, to keep her memory alive.

“Ella is such a happy little girl, I definitely think she lives her life for the both of them.”

On Sunday, August 25, Susan and Stephen will host a charity cricket match and family fun day at Hetton Lyons Cricket Club from noon.

Entry is free. For more information call 526 2323.