Aimee Hughes works at Walker & Morrell Funeral Directors in Washington. She taught herself to crochet after some moving experiences arranging funerals for infants who were too fragile to wear traditional baby clothing.
She learned how to crochet through video tutorials on YouTube during lockdown restrictions after a suggestion from her aunt.
Aimee then posted a picture of her woollen cardigans, blankets and mittens on Facebook and immediately received messages from people wanting to help.
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Aimee donates excess clothes to mortuary staff at hospitals including Sunderland Royal Hospital, as well as colleagues working on maternity wards, as the clothes are also ideal for premature babies.
She now hopes to supply Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Gateshead, with a blanket and hat for every stillborn and premature baby under their care. She also recently donated her 21st pint of blood for neonatal babies, with her blood carrying a special antibody that helps their development.
Aimee said: “Many stillborn babies sadly come to us without being fully clothed because they’re so small.
"I started crocheting small woollen hats, socks and blankets for them to wear and have been inundated with donations from the local community, including materials and other woollen items.
“I’m quite crafty and do lots of cross-stitching, but I’ve never got the hang of knitting. When my auntie suggested crochet, I could finally make my idea a reality.
“I am absolutely amazed by the kindness and support of our local community. It has been heart-warming to hear stories from mums who have lost babies and wanted to help other women in their time of need.”
Clare King, charitable funds officer at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said: “We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Aimee for taking the time to hand-craft these items of baby clothing and for choosing to donate them to us.
“Her efforts will make a huge difference to the lives of parents and families at the Queen Elizabeth. We’re very grateful for her support.”
Clothing donations can be made to Walker & Morrell, 4 West View, Concord, Washington, NE37 2DT.