Burnley in line for national baby bereavement honours

The Mayor of Burnley, Coun. Liz Monk offically opens the new serenity suite at Burnley General Hospital watched by Joanne and Mark Edwards.
The Mayor of Burnley, Coun. Liz Monk offically opens the new serenity suite at Burnley General Hospital watched by Joanne and Mark Edwards.

A caring midwife and the couple she helped when they lost their newborn son to a rare condition have been nominated for a prestigious award.

Midwife Rachel Thorpe was nominated for the Butterfly Award, which celebrates survivors and champions of baby loss, by Joanne and Mark Edwards for the care, help and support she gave them after their son Luke was stillborn in May, 2013, after suffering from Trisomy 13/Patau’s Syndrome.

Midwife Rachel Thorpe nominated for Butterfly Award (s)

Midwife Rachel Thorpe nominated for Butterfly Award (s)

The Edwards have also been nominated for the same award after they created the Friends of Serenity charity and raised the fantastic total of £40,000. This gave them the chance to achieve their aim of creating a special Butterfly room at the Central Birth Suite at Burnley General Hospital. This suite was recently opened and can be used by families experiencing the trauma of stillbirth and loss. It is the second suite at the hospital and as a result the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust has also been nominated for a Butterfly Award in the Best Hospital Bereavement Service category.

Joanne, who is currently on maternity leave from her job as deputy head teacher at Sacred Heart Primary School in Colne after giving birth to the couple’s second son Toby 12 weeks ago, said: “This project means a great deal as loss is very important to us and we have spent two years fundraising and working with staff at the Trust to make the Butterfly suite a reality.

“It is crucial to us that families know their baby is important to us and they get to spend the essential precious time with their baby they may need in a quiet and calm environment, hopefully making their experience a little gentler.”

Joanne also paid tribute to Rachel for the care and attention she gave them that went “above and beyond” the call of duty.

It is crucial to us that families know their baby is important to us and they get to spend the essential precious time with their baby they may need in a quiet and calm environment, hopefully making their experience a little gentler

Joanne Edwards

Modest Rachel, who lives in Rossendale Avenue, Burnley, with her husband Roy and two children, Bradley (18) and eight-year-old Neive, trained to be a midwife 11 years ago. She said it would be an honour for the Butterfly Award to come to East Lancashire.

Rachel said: “A lot of the time people don’t know what to say if someone has suffered the loss of a baby but it is important to talk about it and help families to come to terms with their loss and understand it.”

To register your vote log onto www.thebutterflyawards.com before voting closes at 9pm tomorrow (Monday). The winners will be announced at a gala dinner in London on October.

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