A FAMILY hopes to raise £20,000 to create bereavement rooms at Leighton Hospital in memory of their little boy who died aged 18 months.

Winnington couple Kelly Sandbach and Paul Birdsall set up Harry’s Angel Room Appeal after they lost their son Harry Birdsall in January this year.

They have already raised more than £11,300 towards their £20,000 goal, which will fund two private and homely rooms at the hospital where parents can spend time with their child and say goodbye.

Kelly, of Northway, said: “We don’t want anyone else to go through what we’ve been through but, if they do, we want to make it a bit easier.”

Harry’s sudden and unexpected death on January 19 was caused by two viruses that affected the breathing centre in his brain.

“These were common childhood viruses, cold-type viruses, which made it hard to understand why he died,” said Kelly, 31, a staff nurse at the Victoria Infirmary Northwich (VIN).

“He was fine the day before – I was at work and both his nanas looked after him and he was perfectly fine.

“It was just in Harry’s make up that that was what his body would do.

“There is no way of detecting that when a child is born, some children just cope better with illness than others.”

Harry was rushed into A&E at Leighton Hospital the next morning where staff tried to resuscitate him.

Kelly said: “It wasn’t very private, there was just a curtain, and after they pronounced that Harry had died there was nowhere to go in private.

“The staff were brilliant and we’re so grateful to them for the way they looked after Harry and for their kindness and professionalism.

“But you need a room that’s not hospitalised but more homely – even if you’ve lost a teenager, you still want time to say goodbye in an environment that you don’t have to be rushed from.

“You need to get your thoughts together and think about what you’re going to do so it’s really important to have that space and that’s why we’re doing this.”

A room has been set aside in the A&E department at Leighton Hosital, with another reserved in the children’s ward.

Kelly and Paul, who also have a five-year-old daughter called Ruby, are raising money to refurbish, redecorate and furnish the rooms.

“It’s giving me and Paul something to focus on,” said Kelly.

“It’s devastating when you lose a child, after you get over the shock you get the realisation of what’s happened.

“We’ve got Ruby who keeps us busy but you still have that void.

“This gives us something to focus on at the same time as providing a family with comfort and the knowledge that there’s a system in place.”

For more information about Harry’s Angel Room Appeal or to donate visit harrysangel.blogspot.com.

FUNDRAISERS have pulled out all the stops to raise money for Harry’s appeal since January.

A whole host of events have taken place, from afternoon teas and car washes to band nights and physical challenges, and many more are in the pipeline.

Colleagues of Kelly’s at VIN have walked up Snowdon to raise money and employees at Roberts Bakery, where Paul works, have also held collections.

Car company Kia have even donated more than £2,000 to the cause.

Kelly said: “The support we have had has been amazing.

“It’s just really nice that people have been so kind and want to give us so much.”

For a full list of events visit harrysangel.blogspot.com.