Couple's gift to grieving parents honours memory of their baby daughter

Mark and Sarah and their son Oliver hand over their second cold cot to staff at the
East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.
Mark and Sarah and their son Oliver hand over their second cold cot to staff at the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.

A couple, who had to come to terms with the agony of losing their newborn baby girl, are helping others who face the same devastating loss.

Sarah Bernasconi and her partner Mark Parsons were devastated when their baby daughter, Maggie Pearl, was stillborn in 2015 at Burnley General Teaching Hospital

Despite their grief, the couple set about raising money for cold cots in Maggie’s name that other parents who suffer a stillbirth or the loss of a baby or toddler are able to use.

And they have raised £6,000 to purchase a second cold cot for the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.

As the skin of stillborn babies begins to change and break down after a couple of hours this can limit the time a family are able to spend with their baby.

Cold cots use a special cooling system and means families get to spend precious extra time with their child rather than being rushed into saying goodbye.

Sarah said: “The staff at Burnley and Blackburn hospitals have been so supportive and the new cold cot is our way of giving something back.

“Within a few hours your whole life is turned upside down and no parent should go through the pain of losing their child.

"For those who do, we’ve provided something to help and to know that Maggie’s legacy continues and she’ll never be forgotten.”

.“Having the cold cot gives parents that little bit of time to say goodbye on their terms, an all too brief time they deserve."

Sarah and Mark’s latest cot, the sixth to be built by specialist craftsmen at Simpsons Bespoke Furniture of Colne, was delivered to the Paediatric Accident and Emergency department at the Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital.

Clinical Director for Emergency Medicine, Dr Charles Thomson thanked Sarah and Mark for their magnificent effort: ““We cannot thank Sarah and Mark enough for their kind donation of a cold cot and extra memory boxes that other parents at the hospital will benefit from.

“Parents remember the care they receive, and good care can make a huge difference to their memories of that devastating experience and to their grieving.”

Sarah and Mark, who live in Blackburn, set up a Facebook page – Maggie Pearl Parson’s legacy – with daily auctions which in the last two years have raised thousands of pounds, enough for six cold cots and hundreds of memory boxes.

Sarah added:“It’s very, very important to me to raise awareness of stillbirth. All donations, no matter how small, will be greatly appreciated and the more I can do to help, the stronger and longer Maggie’s legacy will be."