Charity helping grieving East Devon parents makes generous donation to hospital unit

(From L toRr) Laura Stevens and Gail Welsh, Exeter Sands Co-Chairs; Eiry Bladen, Midwife; Steph Masl

(From L toRr) Laura Stevens and Gail Welsh, Exeter Sands Co-Chairs; Eiry Bladen, Midwife; Steph Maslin, Matron; and Debbie Stevens, Matron. - Credit: Archant

An Exeter-based stillbirth and neonatal death charity has made a generous donation of equipment designed to enable bereaved parents to spend more time with their babies.

Exeter Sands, which provides support for parents and families across East Devon, has provided a ‘cuddle cot’ and two Moses baskets to the Maternity Unit at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (RD&E).

The cuddle cot is a cold pad that can be wrapped around a baby that has been stillborn, allowing parents to stay with them for longer.

This gives parents time to grieve and start to come to terms with their loss, as well as enabling other family members time to meet the baby and say goodbye.

Sands operate throughout the UK, supporting people affected by the death of a baby, working to improve the care bereaved parents receive, and promoting research to reduce the loss of babies’ lives.

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Exeter Sands is run exclusively by parents who have lost a baby. They have been working with staff at the R&DE regularly providing support to parents and training and education for staff.

Exeter Sands Co-Chairs Gail Welsh and Laura Stevens recently visited the Labour Ward at the RD&E to deliver their donations on behalf of the charity. Both were keen to make the donation in memory of their own babies.

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Gail and Laura said: “The cuddle cot provides the gift of time to newly bereaved parents which is crucial as it gives families longer with their babies.

“This time is all that they have to make memories which they will carry with them forever so every second is invaluable.

“We at Exeter Sands are so pleased to be working in partnership with the RD&E supporting those who have lost a baby together.”

Debbie Stevens, Matron, added: “We are very fortunate that Sands has donated this wonderful piece of equipment to help prolong those precious early moments and these beautiful Moses baskets. I’m sure a lot of parents will treasure them and we are very grateful for their support.

“We know that things like this make a real difference for our families as it helps them make memories that they can treasure.

“We have also recently started offering bereaved parents the opportunity to make plaster casts of their baby’s hand and foot-prints as a momento they can keep.

“This is something that we can now offer for stillborn babies and was achieved thanks to a fundraising organised by staff on the unit.”

To find out more about the support offered by Sands visit

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