Wigan mum offers special keepsake for grieving parents

Amy and Craig France with children, Lottie, two, Cayden, eight, and Kai, five
Amy and Craig France with children, Lottie, two, Cayden, eight, and Kai, five

A mum whose daughter was stillborn is offering other grieving parents a special keepsake of their children.

Amy France, from Beech Hill, decided to launch her moulding and casting project after losing her daughter Ava at 37 weeks’ gestation in October 2015.

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While Amy, 30, and her husband Craig, 32, grieved the loss of their daughter in the hospital, one of their friends Bernadette Breheny came in and took plaster casts of Ava’s hands and feet for the couple to keep forever.

Soon after, the mum-of-three decided she wanted to give something to parents in the same situation as her, deciding to start her own casting service for bereaved families, naming it Eternally Ava.

The family hosted a fun day in August 2016, raising more than £3,500 to buy the materials for the casts, which are made by her and Bernadette.

“We want to help other parents who unfortunately have to go through the same heartache we went through,” she said.

“The casts are something a bit different, something that families can keep forever.

“Craig and I really treasure ours.

“Bernadette and I don’t gain anything financially from this, but emotionally. It allows us to give to parents a special gift.”

Although Eternally Ava is not yet a registered charity, Amy is hoping to raise awareness of the service to help other families in the borough.

Despite the group being in operation for the past three years, Amy feels that not enough people are aware of the service they provide.

“I just want parents to know that option is there for them,” Amy added. “Together we are just trying to give something parents to keep and treasure forever.

“They can be as involved as they please and we can do it wherever they want whether that be the hospital, Rose Cottage – the mortuary at the hospital, or their funeral directors.”

Once the mould is taken, Bernadette finishes off the cast by pouring in plaster and allowing it to set.

She then peels away the moulding and the cast is painted and framed with a picture of the parents’ choice.

The finished article is then framed with the baby’s name and date of birth engraved.

For more information contact Amy on 07871852808 or visit www.facebook.com/Eternallyava.