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Manchester Foundation
Trust Charity

Who We’ve Helped

Ben and Cath

Saint Mary’s Hospital

Support for Ben and Cath after losing baby Arlo

Last year, Ben and Cath went through the unimaginable and lost their little boy Arlo. Faced with a grief that no parent should have to experience, they received support from Saint Mary’s Hospital’s specialist bereavement service. Thanks to expert staff and facilities funded by our Charity, Ben and Cath were able to create special memories with Arlo in a safe and supportive environment.

Every year in the UK, over 12,000 families lose their babies. It is a tragedy that no parent ever wants to face.

For Saint Mary’s Hospital’s Specialist Bereavement Midwife Vicky Holmes, supporting bereaved families was a priority. In 2013 Vicky launched the Bereavement Service, derived from her want to improve specialist services, develop new support systems and involve families more in their own care. Since it’s launch, the service has supported over 1000 families in Manchester.

Our Charity is incredibly proud to work with Vicky and her specialist team of Bereavement Midwives in delivering this service. Charity funds contribute to the upkeep and running of specialist bereavement suites across our family of Hospitals, that give newly bereaved parents a private, safe space to create memories with their baby.

For Ben and Cath, who tragically lost their baby Arlo in 2022, the specialist bereavement rooms were an important part of their journey.

“The Rainbow Room was a huge comfort during our stay at St Mary’s. We were moved to the room before I went into labour with Arlo, having a room with home comforts made the whole thing that little bit easier, having less hospital looking items such as a real bed, dressing table and arm chair made it feel a little more homely.”

Our Charity funds often purchase the ordinary every day items for the bereavement suites that make the room feel like home. When families are processing the loss of their little one, we want to give them an environment that feels comfortable rather than clinical. This way, parents like Ben and Cath can focus on making precious memories.

“Having the room meant we could make memories as a family which we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. The hospital provided us with a camera so we could take pictures, we didn’t realise at the time how important it would be to have these pictures and make the small memories we could with Arlo. The cool cot meant we could spend as much time as we needed with Arlo too.”

Ben and Cath had a cast made of Arlo’s hands and feet, which now sits in their living room. Our midwives and our specialist teams provide families with thoughtful touches and services such as this that allow Ben and Cath to have a piece of Arlo in their home.

Ben and Cath have since set up a fundraising page on behalf of Arlo that supports our Charity. They wanted to give back to the team and support future families who suffer the loss of their baby are able to have the same support from the incredible team.

Reflecting on the impact of the team and the service, Cath says:

“It’s difficult to put into words how much of a difference having the team there has made to our journey. From the first time we met them, they were warm and empathetic and so caring. Since leaving the hospital the team have stayed in touch with regular phone calls, especially around key mile stones, knowing that the support didn’t end the day we left the hospital has been amazing. Having the bereavement team there really has helped us both cope and feel there’s someone to turn to who understands what we’ve been through.”

“Having the Rainbow Room meant that we could make memories with our son Arlo.”

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