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Special memory boxes given to grieving families of patients who have passed away from the coronavirus at Trust

Special memory boxes given to grieving families of patients who have passed away from the coronavirus at Trust

by Danielle Thompson (April 2020)

MEMORY boxes are being given to the grieving families of patients who have passed away at Southport Hospital and Ormskirk Hospital.

Nurses and medical staff are using sympathy cards which have been generously donated by local businesses to write messages of condolences to the families.

An urgent plea has now been made for people to support the fundraising drive to continue the supply of ‘4Louis’ memory boxes to Southport Hospital and Ormskirk Hospital.

The initiative is being led by three baby loss charitable organisations: CRADLE, Lighthouses Therapy Services and 4Louis.

From its base in Sunderland, 4Louis distributes memory boxes to hundreds of hospitals and wards around the country to help parents going through the trauma of pregnancy loss, stillbirth and early years deaths. Now, the charity, which was founded by Kirsty McGurrell after the stillbirth of her son Louis 10 years ago, is using its resources to offer some comfort to families of people who have died during the coronavirus outbreak.

Because of the restrictions in place to limit the spread of the virus, people are often unable to be with their loved ones during their final hours in hospital.

The charity has produced special memory boxes which hospital staff can use to create mementos for family members.

Claire Harrington, the Trust’s deputy director of nursing sent a heartfelt thank you to 4Louis for their generosity. She said: “The donation of the memory boxes by 4Louis has made it possible for us to support our families in such a special way and we are so grateful.”

More than 300 boxes have already been delivered free of charge to hospitals around the country including 30 at the Trust, with another 100 already on order.

CRADLE Founder Louise Zeniou and Lighthouses Therapy Services Founder Nadine Baynes have worked as part of the Southport and Ormskirk baby loss bereavement team since 2018, supporting NHS staff and bereaved families on site and nationally. The 4Louis charity provides the Trust with baby loss and infant loss memory boxes as well as supporting the NHS nationally with many aspects of bereavement care.

All three charitable organisations have come together to source from the community much-needed items including hand creams for staff, sympathy cards and toiletry care packs for patients, and now funds for the 4Louis boxes.

The boxes cost around £35 each and contain lots of beautiful things which aim to provide comfort to families. People are able to make donations of any amount, with every penny gratefully received. More than £8,00 has already been raised, but more is desperately needed.

Bob McGurrell, founder of the 4Louis charity, said: “We are a family-run charity based in Sunderland and provide memory boxes to hospitals nationally free of charge for families who have suffered the loss of a child. We were asked if we could adapt our boxes to cover the Covid-19 crisis and decided within seconds to do this.

“Enquiries came flooding in and as we have had to stop volunteers coming to our unit it meant we had to do it as a family.

“We are pleased to be able to react to a request from Southport and Ormskirk Hospital, Louise Zeniou and Nadine Baynes have been instrumental in this.

“We are a charity that has never chased donations in our 10 years but all our fundraising events have been cancelled, so like all charities we are suffering financially. It’s like a tap that has turned off - but at the moment we are happy to support the NHS as best we can.

“Each box costs around £35 to donate and we are working all hours to make sure we can keep up with demand.

“We are putting together an order for 100 boxes on top of the 30 we have supplied Southport and will be delivered early this week.”

During the coronavirus crisis, CRADLE and Lighthouses have adapted their services for the Trust and continue to provide their services with the NHS teams within the boundaries of government guidelines.

If you can help, go to https://www.justgiving.com and search for ‘COVID-19 Memory Boxes and Care Packages.’

You can join the join the CRADLE peer support online baby loss support group on Facebook and for baby loss or infant loss Zoom or telephone counselling sessions, email nadine@lighthousestherapyservices.co.uk

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