How one donation will help families to make memories

Former SAFC players have reached out to families devastated by stillbirth.

Thursday, 26th January 2017, 5:00 am
Updated Thursday, 26th January 2017, 7:42 am
From left Micky Horswill, Jimmy Montgomery and Dick Malone with Bob and Tracey McGurrell from 4Louis and matron Jacqui Dyson

Parents will now be able to spend more time with their deceased children after the Sunderland Former Players Association donated a cuddle cot to Sunderland Royal Hospital’s maternity ward.

The association, which comprises 150 former Black Cats, gave £1,600 to the 4Louis bereavement charity who bought the specialist equipment for the hospital.

Founder of 4Louis Kirsty McGurrell with her memory boxes.

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The third cot donated by the charity to the ward, it’s a refrigerated basket which allows parents to take their stillborn babies home for a period of time.

Association member Micky Horswill, who was on hand to donate the cot alongside fellow 1973 FA Cup heroes Dick Malone and Jimmy Montgomery, said: “Losing a child is a terrible thing to happen to a family, but this is something that can help those families with their grief.”

As well as cuddle cots, the 4Louis charity donates memory boxes to more than 200 hospitals and hospices across the country.

At Sunderland Royal, the charity is also raising £75,000 to create a dedicated bereavement suite where mums of stillborn babies can give birth in a dedicated area.

Founder of 4Louis Kirsty McGurrell with her memory boxes.

Bob McGurrell from 4Louis, which was set up in memory of his grandson Louis who was born still born in 2009, said: “When my daughter Kirsty gave birth she knew Louis would be stillborn, but she had to give birth in a room with pictures of babies and breast-feeding on the walls, where she could hear the cries of babies next door. Things like cuddle cots weren’t available when Louis was born sleeping so we could only take him home for four hours, but it was still be greatest memory I have of him because I was able to take him to the Stadium of Light.”

The bereavement suite, which it’s hoped will be opened later this year, will be created in a former triage room which was under-utilised and will feature a clinical area, living room and en suite.

Matron Jacqui Dyson said: “Past experience tells us that it’s really important for families to be able to stay together at a time like this, so this room will allow people to stay over with the mum. With the cuddle cot, we encourage parents to take baby home. It’s important for them to be able to say goodbye in their own time, away from the hospital.”

•Donate to 4Louis at