A Falmouth councillor who has suffered the heartbreak of losing a grandchild is launching a knitting drive in the hope of encouraging others to create the lining for “precious memory boxes” in which grieving parents can place keepsakes of their stillborn child.
Trish Minson, pictured, who has represented the Boslowick ward on the town council since last year, was devastated when her daughter Kate’s son, Monty, died before he was born. She now wants something positive to come out of her personal tragedy, so has persuaded Asda and Wilko’s to donate wool which will be given away at a coffee morning she is holding on June 20.
The idea is people will take the wool and knit blankets from a simple pattern and these blankets will line a memory box where treasured memories of a lost child, such as scan photos, a lock of hair, hand and foot prints etc, are placed for safe keeping.
The boxes are the idea of Sands, Stillbirth and neonatal death charity, which as well as encouraging people to knit the blankets, is dedicated to raising money to finance research.
Trish know only too well how it feels to lose a loved one to stillbirth, but is concerned that many people do not want to talk about.
“Stillbirth is a subject that is still taboo. Each day in the UK around 17 babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth – a profound loss for the parents with a lifelong consequence for them and their wider family,” said Trish.
“In 2012 ours was one of the 6,500 families which faced this heartache. My youngest grandchild, Monty, was stillborn on November 3.
There was no prior indication that anything was amiss when Monty’s mum (Kate) went for a routine ante-natal visit.
“The midwife did some measurements and thought him a little small for his 34 weeks so arranged a scan for the next day. Monty died sometime between the two appointments.
“He was born six weeks early, perfectly formed but small, too small. A common viral infection, picked up at the wrong time, damaged his mum’s placenta enough so that it couldn't support him as he grew. His parents had no idea anything was wrong until he had already died.
“The virus usually has no symptoms in healthy adults, certainly not anything distinct from the normal symptoms of early pregnancy, and is carried by a large proportion of the population. There was nothing anyone could have done.”
Trish added: “Sadly, many parents never find out why their baby died and SANDS is dedicated to raising funds to finance research.
“Any donations received at the coffee morning will go to the Cornwall SANDS to help facilitate support group meetings, training for local midwifes and further needs such as memory boxes.”
The coffee morning will be held in Falmouth’s council chamber, above the library on The Moor, between 10 and noon next Friday, June 20, when free wool to make memory box blankets will be available on the first come, first served basis.