Founder of charity which helps grieving parents of babies and children named among world's 100 most influential women

Kirsty McGurrell
Kirsty McGurrell

A mum who set up a charity to support bereaved parents has been named one of the world's most influential women.

Kirsty McGurrell, from Houghton, set up 4Louis after the loss of her first child Louis, who died 12 days before his due date in 2009.

The charity produces memory boxes which include items such as a moulding kit for baby’s hands and feet, a candle, a guardian angel figure and teddies for families who have suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal or child death.

4Louis is currently working to raise £100,000 to fund a new bereavement suite at the University Hospital of North Durham after fitting one out at Sunderland Royal Hospital.
The suite will allow parents, family and friends time and space to grieve with their stillborn babies away from the sight and sounds of other families celebrating new arrivals.

Kirsty's work has seen her act as a consultant to producers of ITV soap Emmerdale, when the series featured a storyline about a couple coming to terms with the fact their newborn baby girl would not live long.

Now she has been named on a BBC list of 2018's 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world, alongside the likes of Chelsea Clinton and actress and campaigner Jameela Jamil.

"Ranging in age from 15 to 94, and from more than 60 countries, the BBC 100 Women list includes leaders, trailblazers and everyday heroes," says the organisation.

Kirsty, 30, said the news she had made the list had arrived in an e-mail: "I was quite shocked, actually, and honoured," she said.

World Service editor Fiona Crack, the woman behind this year's list, herself benefited from 4Louis' support after the loss of her daughter Willow and has covered the charity's work.

"They came up from London and did a lot of filming around the boxes and the charity for Baby Loss Awareness Week," said Kirsty

"They did a big piece about people who received the boxes and how we try to make that time a little bit easier."

Kirsty, who is also mum to Mitchell, seven; Oskar, five, and one-year-old Daisy-May hopes making the list will give the charity's fund-raising efforts a boost.

"Hopefully it will help us to raise our profile," she said.