Mansfield mates in 40-mile walk to help parents hit by baby loss
When it comes to helping a charity for bereaved parents, four mates from Mansfield are not only talking the talk, they are also walking the walk.
For the quartet are to tackle a 40-mile sponsored trek, spanning 12 hours in just one day, to raise hundreds of pounds.
The walk, scheduled for Friday, June 25, is the idea of 32-year-old Jamie Lynch who will be joined by long-time friends Craig Page, 33, and Richard Sims, 31, plus workmate Ross Johnson, 25.
The charity to benefit will be the Nottingham-based Forever Stars, which supports mums and dads who have lost babies at birth.
Jamie explained: "Craig and myself started doing a lot of walking during lockdown because the gyms were shut.
"My fiancee, Lucy Bexton, told me about Forever Stars because her mum knew somebody who had been affected and, straight away, I felt it sounded like a fantastic cause worth supporting.”
The charity was set up in 2014 by Nottingham parents Michelle and Richard Daniels after the tragic stillbirth of daughter Emily at the Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC) in the city.
They were full of praise for the hospital staff, but felt there was a need for better facilities for parents who have had a stillborn baby.
Instead they were taken to a room in a maternity ward that was for people lucky enough to have had a healthy newborn child.
Since its formation, Forever Stars has raised £500,000 to create bereavement areas called Serenity Suites at both the QMC and Nottingham City Hospital where families can grieve and spend time with their stillbirth babies.
Furthermore, a £1 million Serenity Garden is being created at Highfields Park in Nottingham as “a place for focus, relaxation and reflection”.
The garden will be the destination for the Mansfield quartet’s 12-hour walk. They plan to start in Mansfield at about six in the morning and take in a 40-mile route that could include Teversal and the Five Pits Trail, as well as Hardwick Hall in Bolsover.
Jamie, a project manager for Nottingham-based Magnet Kitchens, said: “I am 100 per cent confident we can do it.
"The two of us walk regularly, including in the Peak District, and we are all quite active. We will be in good shape on the day.”
Forever Stars continues to raise money to help families cope with baby loss, which plunges them from excitement to devastation.
And it also keen to promote medical research to reduce the number of stillborns across the country.
But the Serenity Suites have had the most telling impact, as Jamie, who himself has a two-year-old daughter, acknowledges.
"They are private places where parents can recover,” he said. “The last place they want to be is a labour ward, surrounded by the sound of babies crying and families celebrating.
"The suites include ‘cold cots’ where they can spend time with their babies and create memories. Family and friends can also visit.”
Jamie and his mates have set up a JustGiving page if you would like to donate to the cause.
They aim to raise £1,500, and more than 50 supporters have already promised two-thirds of that.
"It is going well, and we are really happy with what we have done,” added Jamie. “We want to spread the word and smash the target.”