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June and Fraser raise thousands for FGH maternity unit

Fraser and June Morton with Becky Bleackley, Specialist Bereavement Midwife at UHMBT.
Fraser and June Morton with Becky Bleackley, Specialist Bereavement Midwife at UHMBT.

A heart-breaking time for a family has been turned into something heart-warming and inspirational with the donation of two cuddle cots, a moses basket and hand-knitted blankets for the Maternity Unit at Furness General Hospital (FGH) – in memory of their precious little boy.

When June Logan and Fraser Morton from Kilmarnock  tragically lost their newborn baby boy Lucas, they were determined to do something to remember their little boy by, and help other families who may suffer a similar devastating loss.

True to their word, June and Fraser, along with a host of family and friends, have turned that sorrow to a purpose, fundraising in Lucas’ memory to buy the equipment for FGH.

Cuddle cots are special temperature controlled cots which allow parents to spend precious time with their baby either at hospital or at home before their baby is in the care of the funeral director.

Lucas who was almost full term, and weighed just under 7lbs, was stillborn at Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock in November 2015.

June and Fraser have raised over £10,000 to date by cycling non-stop for 24 hours, organising charity football matches, quiz nights, sponsored hikes and cake sales. They even enlisted the support of their friends; Jodie Brown and Paul Balmforth, who work at 3 mobile phone stores and agreed to display collection boxes across their branches in the North West and Scotland.

Fraser said: “We identified hospitals across the country we felt were most in need of the cots through our local Sands group and by making our own enquiries.  We also wanted to help raise awareness of the charity Sands, who are a national birth and neonatal death charity.”

Last month, June and Fraser delivered their first cuddle cot and Moses basket to the Glasgow Royal Maternity Hospital. They then drove down to the Westmorland General Hospital in Kendal to deliver two more cuddle cots and a Moses basket for use at FGH.

The following day, Fraser climbed Goat Fell on the Isle of Arran with friends Graham and Sandra Mackie, and between them raised another £1,000 – half of which was donated to Glasgow Sands.

Fraser and June then drove to Aberdeen before catching a 14-hour ferry to Shetland, where they delivered what is now Britain’s most northerly cuddle cot along with a Moses basket. A few hours later, the pair were back on the ferry for a stormy crossing to Aberdeen in a force 10 gale, before heading back to Kilmarnock.

Fraser continued: “We are 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 for all their incredibly generous support.”

Becky Bleackley, Specialist Bereavement Midwife, UHMBT, said: “I would firstly like to offer my deepest condolences to June and Fraser and their family for the loss of their precious Lucas.  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.

“To turn this devastation into something so positive that will help other families, is inspiring, and we can’t thank the family enough for their kindness.”

Sascha Wells, Director of Maternity, UHMBT said: “On behalf of the whole maternity team at FGH, I’d also like to offer my sincere condolences to June and Fraser and thank them and all their family and friends for their fantastic fundraising efforts.

“It is extremely important that families who suffer a devastating loss of their baby feel supported as much as possible. Our focus and drive over the last two 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.

“Within our Trust, we have two 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.

“The two warm cots, which bear the inscription ‘Cuddles from Lucas’, will make a huge difference to future generations in Lucas’ memory.”

For more information on Sands, the national birth and neonatal death charity, please visit: https://www.uk-sands.org/

Morecambe Bay Hospitals Charity is a registered charity that raises funds and supports UHMBT’s five hospital sites.

Donations received go to providing those little extras that help make the hospital experience better or improve outcomes for patients. Money is used to fund additional medical equipment, medical research, specialist training and service improvements.

It is the generosity of the local communities that enables the charity to enhance and support the hospitals across Morecambe Bay and the lives of the 365,000 people that live here. For more information about Morecambe Bay Hospitals Charity, visit: http://www.mbhcharity.org/

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