Bereaved parents’ fund-raising feat

Lisa Nandy opens the new Pearl suite following fund-raising by Chris and Louise Hopwood, pictured with son Teddy.
Lisa Nandy opens the new Pearl suite following fund-raising by Chris and Louise Hopwood, pictured with son Teddy.

A couple grieving for their twin daughters have created a lasting legacy to help other bereaved parents.

Louise and Chris Hopwood wanted to improve the bereavement suite at Wigan Infirmary after the deaths of Peggy and Pearl.

This is something that will continue to live on in their memory

Chris Hopwood

They were born at 21 weeks, but both died after only a few minutes in January 2014.

Now, after much fund-raising and hard work, the newly-refurbished bereavement room, named the Pearl Suite, has been officially opened.

It provides a quiet, private place for parents who have suffered a pregnancy loss to create precious final memories with their babies.

Chris, 31, said: “When we lost the girls, we were put in the room as it was. Whilst it was nice of the hospital to be able to do that and for us to spend some time with them, it still felt like we were in hospital.

“We wanted somewhere that didn’t feel like it was at a hospital and was nice and comforting, where you could spend the night, or however long you wanted to spend, with the baby or babies you had lost.

“We wanted somewhere that didn’t feel like a hospital and more like a home.”

Louise and Chris, of Bewley Grove, Leigh, raised more than £13,000 to update the suite and donated clothes and blankets made for premature babies.

The suite has undergone a complete face-lift, with new furniture, paint and flooring to make it more comfortable.

The couple were involved in picking out some of the furniture and fittings, though parts of the process were more complicated due to rules about what could be there.

Chris is pleased that the suite will be a permanent tribute to his daughters.

He said: “This is something that will continue to live on in their memory.”

The room has now been officially opened by Wigan MP Lisa Nandy and has already been used by bereaved families.

She said: “For Louise and Chris to survive such a loss is incredibly brave and then for them to turn something so tragic into something so good is truly inspiring.

“I am so proud that Wigan has such wonderful hospital staff who really go the extra mile to support their

patients.”

While the room has been completed, Chris and Louise, who now have a one-year-old son named Teddy, still want to get a memorial book.

They will also continue to donate clothes and packs containing toothpaste and other items for people using the suite.

Chris praised the efforts of midwife Tracy Baybutt and thanked everyone else involved.

He said: “It’s not just myself, Louise and Tracy, it’s all the people who have donated money, attended our charity balls, followed the Facebook page, knitted clothes, provided wool, whatever it might be.

“We are thankful for all those people. We would like to thank everybody who has been on the journey with us.”

Tracy said: “A patient recently shared with me that the suite allowed her and her partner to spend precious time and create valuable memories with their baby that will stay with them forever.”