PARENTS who experience baby loss at Leighton Hospital now have a place where they can make lifelong memories with their child before finally saying goodbye.

The Meadow Suite is a new, purpose-built baby bereavement unit which allows parents to spend time with their baby in a comfortable environment, which is more like a home than a hospital.

The suite will be available to parents of stillborn babies and will be equipped with a cold cot to keep their baby’s body in good condition while the family grieves.

It also has a beautiful outside courtyard where families can spend quiet time in the fresh air together, and a separate entrance and exit with a dedicated parking space.

The new suite was built with funds from the Mid Cheshire Hospital Charity’s (MCHC) Lost Little Ones appeal, which raised £100,000 for the project.

Shell Tench, whose son Lenny Tench died at Leighton Hospital in January 2023, was responsible for more than £10,000 of the total raised. The Weaverham resident explained the thinking behind the new suite, and why it’s so important.  

“When there are bereaved new parents, they'll be moved into the bereavement suite from the labour ward," Shell said. 

“It gives a less clinical environment for the families to spend time with the babies.

"It’s much more homely and the families are self-contained, but the teams are there should they need any help.

“You have what’s called a cold cot for the babies to go in, which keeps them at the right temperature and preserves them, so the family can spend a good length of time with them. It can be hours, or days. It depends on the family.

“It can be a very important part of the grieving process. It’s not for every parent, but having the option is very important.”

“We already knew we’d have to say goodbye to Lenny when the time came, but the knowledge didn’t make the process any easier."

As part of the design, the MCHC commissioned an art project which involved bereaved parents working with a professional artist to co-create bespoke wallpapers, window manifestations, and framed pieces which feature throughout the suite.

Emma Robertson, head of MCHC, said: “We’re so proud of what we have achieved.

"Although I wish this wasn’t needed, we know it will make a real difference to those bereaved families who’ll use the suite to make memories with their babies which need to last a lifetime.

“I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone involved in raising the money to create the suite, your generosity has enabled us to change the way bereaved parents and their families are supported throughout their darkest days.

“The official launch of the suite was the culmination of a project which started in 2019 and took huge effort, energy and passion from the charity team, our local communities, our NHS staff, Robertson Construction, and bereaved parents.”