Sutton family organising charity ball to support grieving parents

Claire, left, and Sharon Meakin who are hosting a 21st birthday party in memory of Claire's son Liam.
Claire, left, and Sharon Meakin who are hosting a 21st birthday party in memory of Claire's son Liam.

A family from Sutton are organising a charity ball to raise funds for parents who lose their newborn babies.

Claire Meakin, 40, lost her first-born son Liam in 1998 after a blood clot caused the baby to be born not breathing and without a heartbeat.

The family have celebrated Liam’s birthday every year since, travelling to Ireland three years ago to mark his 18th, and this year they have organised a masquerade ball to raise funds supporting King’s Mill Hospital’s bereavement midwives.

They aim to supply the hospital with two ‘cuddle cots’ - a cooling sheet which keeps a baby’s body cold and allows families time to grieve with their baby and make precious memories “that will last a lifetime”.

Claire said: “The cuddle cots, which we couldn’t have, are effectively a cooling system.

“With babies being so small and their organs not being developed, the process of decomposition starts a lot quicker.

“The cuddle cots slow the process down and give parents more time with their baby to make memories and say goodbye properly - it allows families to grieve.

“What we also want to do is buy small blankets to go with the cuddle cots, which give the parents something they can keep to remember the time they spend with their baby.

“Every penny will be spent on the cots, on blankets and on items for the families to keep and remember their baby.”

The event will take place on June 1, one day after Liam’s 21st birthday on May 31, at the Civic Quarter in Mansfield, and will feature live music, entertainment, a raffle and an auction - with all profits from the £21 tickets going towards the cuddle cots which cost £1,700 each.

Claire added: “We’re wanting to celebrate the time and memories we had with Liam and, as a result of the funds, provide memories for other families too.

“We would like people to think of the time they spend with their children and, by coming to this event, they are giving somebody the gift of time with their child who is not going to be here very long.

“I was lucky because I did hold him, I did get to christen him and dress him and to me that’s memories which are lasting me a lifetime, but some families don’t get this.

“This is what we want to achieve, more than anything.”

To buy a ticket for the event, or to find out more, visit