A NEW suite to support families dealing with stillbirth and the loss of an infant has opened at Glan Clwyd Hospital.

Fundraisers raised more than £30,000 with a 24-hour football marathon to improve the Dolwen Suite at the hospital. A donation was also given to stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands.

The suite now benefits from a more homely setting, for mothers to give birth in, and is designed to make time spent in hospital with their infant as comfortable as possible. The space has private access away from the main maternity ward ensuring that parents are not put in a potentially distressing position of being able to hear other newborns.

The fundraiser was organised by Mike and Vicki Wilson, and Glyn and Karen Thomas.

The Leader:

Mike and Vicki Wilson Hospital (right) with hospital staff

Vicki, Glyn and Karen all work together as radiographers at the North Wales Cancer Centre.

Mike's daughter Holly died at 35 weeks gestation in 2012.

"Going through what we did is always going to be an awful experience, but having to do so in the facilities which were there just weren’t good enough," he said.

"We had great care from the staff, but wanted to do whatever it took to make sure other families didn’t have to be cared for in the room which used to be here.

"I play football with Glyn, who along with Karen works with my wife, and we talked about what we could do to make things better.

"We’re really grateful to the support we’ve had to raise the money to both redevelop the room here at the hospital and donate to Chester Sands, which gave us incredible support when Holly died."

A donation to help furnish the suite was also made by Gwynedd Sands, which supports families in North Wales affected by the death of a baby.

Lorraine Gardner, matron for maternity at the hospital, said: “Losing a baby during pregnancy or shortly after is a devastating experience for any parent to go through and we understand that little will feel like comfort to those who find themselves in such a situation.

"We’ve worked hard to develop a space that felt less like a clinical environment and more like a sanctuary for bereaved parents.

"We can’t thank SANDS enough for their amazing support in bringing these improvements together and are very proud of the Dolwen suite.”

Artwork in the suite was provided by Verity Wilson.