Maternity staff from The James Cook University Hospital have raised more than £20,000 for a new bespoke bereavement suite following a Call the Midwife style charity cycle ride.
Led by Debbie Bezance, delivery suite manager, the team donned fancy dress based on the popular BBC period drama series and cycled from James Cook to Centre Square in Middlesbrough before returning to hospital via Albert Park.
The team, who shed many tears on the journey during Baby Loss Awareness Week, brought traffic to a standstill along the way, with many drivers beeping in support.
Patients and staff at James Cook were also shocked when they looked out of their windows and once they knew what was going on, they were keen to donate funds to the midwives’ cause.
“Alongside the money we’ve raised, more than £30,000 has been raised by families in memory of their babies.
“There’s been so many people wanting to help us and saying we inspire them and we wanted to do our bit to raise the profile of this fundraising campaign as well as supporting a positive image of midwives and maternity services.
“We wanted to show people we are human and we care.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the whole experience. We brought traffic to a standstill and every so often, I would look up at one of my colleagues cycling beside me and would see them crying. It was so overwhelming.”
Aiming to raise £60,000
Families using the current bereavement room must walk through James Cook’s busy labour ward, often hearing other parents celebrating and babies crying.
The money raised by the maternity staff and local families will enable the team to create a comfortable soundproof clinical room where ladies can give birth, but which can be quickly transformed so it feels more relaxed and homely.
“We looked into the cost of a gold standard delivery suite for our bereaved families with its own entrance and a visiting area and initially, we were looking at £180,000.
“But with the help and support of Geoffrey Robinson, a lovely local firm from Billingham, we were able to bring that down to £60,000 and we thought ‘that’s really doable’.
“We would like to say a heartfelt thank you to all the bereaved families who have found the strength to raise money for this room in memory of their loved ones during an extremely difficult time.
“We hope it gives them comfort knowing that the money they have donated for this room will change lives.”
You can pledge your support online at justgiving.com/campaign/MaternityBereavementJamesCookUniversityHospital