Sunderland charity producing free memory boxes for families of Covid-19 victims

A Sunderland charity which has changed the way stillbirth and miscarriage grief is dealt with around the country is now reaching out to help the families of loved ones who’ve died from Covid-19.
4Louis founder Kirsty McGurrell with her memory boxes.4Louis founder Kirsty McGurrell with her memory boxes.
4Louis founder Kirsty McGurrell with her memory boxes.

From its base in Pallion Industrial Estate, 4Louis distributes memory boxes to hundreds of hospitals and wards around the country to help parents going through the trauma of miscarriage, stillbirth and early years deaths.

Now, the charity, which was founded by Kirsty McGurrell after the still birth of her son Louis 10 years ago, is using its resources to offer some comfort to families of people who’ve died from Covid-19.

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Because of the restrictions in place to limit the spread of the virus, people are unable to be with their loved ones during their final hours in hospital.

The boxes being distributed for the families of people who've died from Covid-19The boxes being distributed for the families of people who've died from Covid-19
The boxes being distributed for the families of people who've died from Covid-19

But the charity has produced special memory boxes which hospital staff can use to create mementos for family members.

The boxes contain: a blank card where the patient can either write or dictate a letter to their loved ones; a glass angel; a candle; an inkless wipe kit to capture their hand print which can be made into keepsakes such as jewellery; two teddies, one to stay with the patient and one for the family; a box for a lock of hair and forget me not seeds.

More than 300 boxes have already been delivered free of charge to hospitals around the country including Sunderland Royal, RVI, Queen Elizabeth, North Tees and many more.

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Kirsty, who’s won awards for her charity work, said: “I can only imagine how the patients must feel to be in a hospital bed, not able to see family and friends or knowing if they will be here tomorrow.

“Family and friends of the victims must be absolutely heartbroken and our hearts really go out to them. Not only do they not get to see their loved one at such a difficult time, they are then unable to give them the send off they deserve surrounded by their family and friends.”

She added: “We know that our memory boxes will not give them the time back, but we do hope that they will offer them a little comfort at this difficult time, letting them know we are thinking of them.

“Our hearts also go out to all the NHS and care staff who have been given the difficult job of being on the front line to care for these patients, offering love and support at a difficult time while also afraid for their own and their family’s safety.

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“It is times like these our humanity is really tested and it is wonderful to see the majority of the country pulling together adhering to the advice given and offering strangers support and help if needed.”

As well as the Covid-19 boxes, the charity is still supplying its boxes for people dealing with the grief of an early years death.

Not only has Kirsty won Best of Wearside Awards for her charity, she’s also been recognised nationally with a Points of Light Award from the then Prime Minister Theresa May.

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