Devoted family spread love through blankets

Family raising money to make blankets for still born and premature babies after family tragedy. Bev Penman and Linda Sharkie. Pic Steve Robards. SR1518344 SUS-151108-110121001

Family raising money to make blankets for still born and premature babies after family tragedy. Bev Penman and Linda Sharkie. Pic Steve Robards. SR1518344 SUS-151108-110121001

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A family have handmade 100 blankets for neonatal baby units after losing their son and grandson born at 17 weeks.

Linda Sharkey from Bewbush is crocheting blankets to send off to nominated hospitals to help families faced with still birth or babies born prematurely.

Her daughter Stephanie and her son-in-law Dan lost their son after Stephanie went into labour five months early.

She and Dan’s mum, Beverley Stewart Penman are dedicating their spare time to the cause, they have named ‘A Little Comfort’.

Stephanie’s sister, Kerry Duffin, who is helping them raise money to keep the project going, explained.

She said: “In May 2015, my nephew was sadly born at 17 weeks in Brighton and we were looked after at the Sussex County.

“He was born at home, into a sheet and whilst we were all at the hospital, my sister and brother in law were given a handmade blanket for him to rest in and this enabled us all to be able to cuddle him and take some precious photos that we can keep.

“That one blanket made such a difference for us - it was made with love and was so much less clinical and because of this - my mum and sister’s mother-in-law have started to make blankets to send to neonatal and special care baby units all over the country.

“They have just finished blanket number 100 and are still going.”

Over the past few weeks, as the family has received more and more requests from hospitals across the country, they have set up a fundraising website and Facebook page for donations.

Kerry said: “Every person that has donated, we have asked them for a hospital that is dear to them and blankets will go there.

“It really made all the difference to us and I know it will for other families too.”

They have had blankets sent to hospitals as far away as Southampton and Winchester.

It has also shown them how common the problem is.

Kerry said: “It’s so surprising and also shocking.

“Until you are a family experiencing something like this it’s hard to know.

“It’s such a taboo subject. The more people talk about it, the easier it becomes.

“There are so many people affected and I know what a difference that one little blanket made to our family.

“Someone crocheted or knitted that blanket and they didn’t realise the importance it would have.”

To support their cause with a donation got to www.gofundme.com/3u4ckmg6s

To read more about their story go to the family’s dedicated Facebook page at www.facebook.com/alittlecomfort

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