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Stillbirth memories spur on King's Lynn couple to fundraise for Bereavement Suite

A married couple are raising funds for a new Maternity Bereavement Suite in Lynn after experiencing a stillbirth in February 2018.

Liam and Sarah Chapman, both 35, will be forming a ‘Team Eliza’ group of runners and cheerleaders for the GEAR 10k, and will continue to fundraise even though the event has been postponed to October.

This is in memory of their daughter Eliza Jane who was stillborn. The couple are “very passionate” about having a safe, soundproof space for parents to mourn and spend time with their child.

Eliza Jane. Picture: Sarah Chapman
Eliza Jane. Picture: Sarah Chapman

Lynn News readers voted for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s plans for a new Maternity Bereavement Suite as the Charity of the Year, for which the hospital has set a fundraising target of £185,000.

Mrs Chapman, a teacher in Lynn, said: “It’s heart-wrenching when your child is in the room dead and in a cold cot or in your arms, and you are listening to another baby.

“I became very ill at home and had to go back to the hospital, and I was originally on a delivery ward which my family were outraged about.”

Sarah and Liam Chapman
Sarah and Liam Chapman

She was allowed to return to the Waterlily Birth Centre, but it is also a delivery suite so the hospital require a dedicated bereavement space for mourning parents.

Mrs Chapman added: “You can speculate but until you experience a stillbirth it is hard to say what things are needed for the parents.

“When we were in the Waterlily we heard a horrendous scream which sounded like one you hear out of mourning, but then we heard a baby crying.

Charity of the Year 2020 - QEH Maternity Unit Bereavement Suite logo
Charity of the Year 2020 - QEH Maternity Unit Bereavement Suite logo

“I turned to Liam and we were just relieved they were alive.”

Her husband had been training for the London Landmarks Half Marathon this weekend in aid of Tommy’s, a leading UK baby charity.

However that race has been cancelled due to coronavirus.

Mr Chapman said: “Nobody should have to go through what we did.

“I think every hospital should have a bereavement suite. It’s obviously a subject people do not really hear about until it happens to you.”

Team Eliza at a previous GEAR event. Picture: Sarah Chapman
Team Eliza at a previous GEAR event. Picture: Sarah Chapman

The Chapmans have set up a bereaved parent group for Lynn which can be found by searching Whispers from Wings on Facebook.

To donate to their GEAR fundraising page head to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/teameliza2020.

You can also donate to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital's Maternity Bereavement Suite fundraising page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/qehmaternitybereavementsuite .

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