Not just another brick in the wall

Not just another brick in the wall
In Christopher's memory, John with the signed brick, and midwives (from the left) Amanda Andrews, Susan Alcide and Helen Graham, matron Sally Sagar, Vinci Construction UK construction manager Stewart Turner and Heidi Bowron, co-ordinator of the Bayb's Maternity Appeal

In Christopher’s memory, John with the signed brick, and midwives (from the left) Amanda Andrews, Susan Alcide and Helen Graham, matron Sally Sagar, Vinci Construction UK construction manager Stewart Turner and Heidi Bowron, co-ordinator of the Bayb’s Maternity Appeal

Of the thousands of bricks going into the build of Furness General Hospital’s new £12 million maternity unit, there’s now one that will forever stand testament to the bond between siblings.

Fittingly for a place that will see new and growing families come together for the very first time, a brick that will be a cornerstone in the unit’s foundations is signed in the name and dedicated to the memory of Dalton man Christopher Herrmann.

Sadly, Christopher passed away on August 4th 2015, aged 56 but his brother John Hermmann, (59), who lives with partner Sue in Ainslie Street, Barrow, bought the brick for £450 in an auction raising money for the Bayb’s Maternity Appeal.

John, a pipe fitter at BAE Systems, Barrow, said: “My brother led quite a sheltered life. He suffered from epilepsy, which got him down. I don’t have any children of my own so buying the brick in my brother’s name and having it as part of the fabric of the new unit is special for me.”

Not just another brick in the wall: John is invited to lay the brick he bought in his brother’s name in the foundations to the new maternity unit

Not just another brick in the wall: John is invited to lay the brick he bought in his brother’s name in the foundations to the new maternity unit

A photograph of John laying the brick will go up in the unit’s foyer when the build finishes this December.

John bid for the brick when he and Sue attended a sell-out black tie ball at Abbey House & Gardens, Barrow, earlier this year. The ball was organised by the hotel as a fundraising event for Bay Hospitals Charity, which then launched the Bayb’s Maternity Appeal to raise £250,000 to ensure that the new maternity unit is among the best equipped and most comfortable in the country.

To help give new babies and their families the best start in life, the appeal has a catalogue of items it is seeking to buy, including additional birthing pools, extra equipment and birth aids as well as those little extras that will help give the unit a real home from home feel for parents-to-be.

The appeal will also provide funds for a special stay-over room for parents whose babies are too poorly to go home and for those parents that are faced with the devastating news of baby loss, the appeal is raising funds for a bereavement suite and private garden area.

In addition, the appeal is seeking to fund a life-size, life-like computerised birthing mannequin that reacts in just the same way as a real mum-to-be. It will be used as a training tool, enabling staff at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust to keep their skills and knowledge at the cutting edge of maternity care, enhancing future parents’ experience of maternity services and ensuring the unit is second to none in the country. To learn more about these items and the appeal again visit www.bayhospitalcharity.org.

Besides the brick auction, the Abbey House & Gardens ball also featured a Bayb’s fundraising raffle that included prizes donated by Cartmel Racecourse of a family race day pass and tickets donated by Windermere Lake Cruises for one of its excursions. In all, the event raised £7,000 for the appeal.