Charity ball to help mum’s mission to support families affected by baby loss

A MOTHER-OF-THREE has organised a ball in Delph next month to raise funds for a charity which supports families experiencing the similar trauma of losing a baby that hers has faced.

Rebecca Higgins, of Lees, is hosting a ‘Last of Summer Ball’ at The Saddleworth Hotel on Huddersfield Road on Saturday, September 23 from 7pm.

Guests at the black-tie event will get a drinks reception and a three-course dinner, while there will be live music and dancing until late. There will also be an auction and raffle, for which she is appealing for prizes and donations.

Rebecca is aiming to raise £1,000 for the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (Sands) – and hopes the evening will be a fantastic success.

This year marks 14 years since Rebecca lost her first child Ella Jane, who passed away just 21 minutes after she was born, and she said she still feels “just as much shock and devastation” as she did all those years ago.

Explaining what happened back in 2009, Rebecca told the Independent: “At 12 weeks of pregnancy, I started to have problems which quickly escalated to me being admitted to Tameside Hospital for eight weeks as an inpatient on their maternity ward.

“The baby was perfect and growing beautifully, however my body was letting her down. At 24 weeks gestation, I was allowed to go home as the survival rate, if she was born at this gestation, was considered to be good.

“Unfortunately, the day straight after leaving hospital, my waters went and I went into labour. At 5.20pm that evening, under a general anaesthetic, I gave birth to the most beautiful baby, Ella Jane.

“She survived 20 minutes with my mum and her daddy for company as I was still asleep from anaesthetic.

“I never held her alive but she died in her daddy’s arms and, for that, I am eternally grateful that she wasn’t alone.

“We spent the night on the labour ward with her, something that still happens today due to there not being enough bereavement suites being available in hospitals around the UK.

“I held my angel baby whilst next door delivered their healthy babies – as if we weren’t heartbroken enough.”

Rebecca, who has since given birth to three daughters, wants to support other families going through a similar traumatic experience by raising funds and awareness.

Sands works to support anyone affected by the death of a baby, improve the care bereaved parents receive and create a world where fewer babies die.

“I fundraise because, throughout this journey, I have come to realise and meet so many families who have experienced similar monumental losses,” Rebecca added.

“This happens to so many families. In fact, 13 babies a day die in the UK – one of the worst rates in all of Europe.

“Therefore, I not only fundraise to remember my baby in the most positive way possible but I fundraise to continue to fight, raise awareness and raise much-needed funds towards research, training and better care within the NHS.”

Tickets for the ‘Last of Summer Ball’, priced at £65 per person, are still available to individual parties or corporate bookings.

For more information, or if you have any prizes and donations for the auction or raffle, contact Rebecca by emailing Rebecca.froggatt1987@hotmail.co.uk or calling 07407 617534.

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