A heart-breaking time for a family has been turned into something heart-warming and inspirational following their donation of a cuddle cot, blankets and hats to the maternity unit at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI).

Leanne Hickey and Dominic Phethean’s baby girl, Lyanna Louise tragically died on 17 April this year and last week the family presented the cuddle cot and gifts to staff from the maternity ward at the RLI as a way of saying thanks for the care they received and to help other bereaved families in the future.

The donated cuddle cot, which bears the inscription ‘In loving memory of our angel, Lyanna Louise’ will help make a huge difference to future generations in Lyanna Louise’s memory.

Cuddle Cots use a high-tech cooling system to enable bereaved parents to take their baby home before saying goodbye for the last time. This can make a huge difference to give time and space to those dealing with the grief of losing a child.

Lyanna Louise’s mum, Leanne said: “We would like to thank all of the team working on the maternity unit at the RLI for the support they gave to both Dominic and I and all our family.  Staff on the maternity unit allowed us to spend more time with Lyanna Louise, meaning we could have those extra special memories and moments with her.  We hope the new cuddle cot will help bring some comfort to other families who find themselves in the same situation we were in April this year.

“We’re just happy to be able to do something so positive for other families who face the same terrible situation as we did. To know that other bereaved families will now be able to spend a little more time with their precious baby gives us some comfort. I’d like to thank everyone again for all their incredibly generous support.”

Celia Sykes, Specialist Bereavement Midwife, UHMBT, said: “I would firstly like to offer my deepest condolences to Leanne, Dominic and all their family for the loss of their precious Lyanna Louise.  A mother’s love is unbreakable. Mums develop a relationship with their baby from the time they realise they are pregnant. To lose a beautiful baby is devastating, and is the last thing any family are expecting.

“On behalf of all the team working in the maternity unit at the RLI, I would like to thank Leanne and Dominic for their kindness in donating the cuddle cot and knitted goods. To turn this devastation into something so positive that will help other families is inspiring, and we can’t thank Leanne and Dominic enough for their kindness.”

Carol Carlile, Head of Midwifery at UHMBT said: “On behalf of the whole maternity team at the trust, I’d like to offer my sincere condolences to Leanne and Dominic on the tragic loss of their precious baby, Lyanna Louise and thank them and all their family and friends for their fantastic fundraising efforts.

“It’s extremely important that families who suffer the devastating loss of their baby feel supported as much as possible. Our focus and drive over the last few years has been to provide seamless bereavement support to all parents who experience pregnancy and baby loss at any stage.

“Across Morecambe Bay Maternity Services, we have raised the profile of bereavement support and care and are proud of all our achievements so far. We have two specialist bereavements midwives – Rebecca and Celia – who support families from their initial loss, throughout their time in hospital and when they return home. Along with their midwife colleagues, they aim to guide families at the start of their bereavement journey with compassion, kindness, respect, dignity, and honesty. They will also assist families to spend time with their baby to create lasting memories, should they wish to”.

Judith Read, Charity Coordinator at Bay Hospitals Charity adds: “I’d also like to thank Leanne, Dominic and Leanne’s Mum, Julie who fundraised for the maternity unit, making over £300. Their generous donation is very much appreciated and will help make a huge difference to other bereaved families across Morecambe Bay Hospitals”.

If you would like to make a donation to Bay Hospitals Charity, you can text MBHC18 – followed by the amount you would like to donate – £1, £5, £10 or £20 (e.g. MBHC18£10 to: 70070). You can also make a donation online at: http://www.bayhospitalscharity.org/donate

For further help, information and support about baby and child loss you can contact the Tigerlily Trust. The Tigerlily Trust is a small local charity based in Grange-Over-Sands run by a group of women who have experienced baby loss. The Tigerlily Trust is passionate about helping women, their partners, family and friends to find healing after their loss. For further information, please visit their website: http://www.tigerlilytrust.co.uk/


Above: from left to right: Celia Sykes; Specialist Bereavement Midwife, Hannah Wilson Midwife, Dominic Phethean, Karen Grey; Community Clerical Officer, Leanne Hickey, Jackie Wild; Community Clinical Support Worker, Tracey Salisbury; Clinical Support Worker, Emma Macari; Maternity Assistant; Anne Wallhouse: Community Midwives Manager and Andrea Morris; Obstetrics and Gynaecology Consultant.