Stillbirth heartbreak for young Leeds couple sparks desire to raise awareness of support

Hayden Ward and his partner Lesley Holmes, 19, whose son Blake was stillborn. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
Hayden Ward and his partner Lesley Holmes, 19, whose son Blake was stillborn. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

A young mum has spoken of the heartbreak of losing her stillborn son as she bids to raise awareness of a charity delivering crucial family support.

Student Lesley Holmes, from Beeston, was given the news that her unborn baby had passed away following a routine scan earlier this year.

It was heartbreaking. Within a few hours he had gone.

Lesley Holmes, 19, from Beeston.

Just 27 weeks and four days into pregnancy, the 19 year old, who was earlier told her son would be born with a cleft lip and palate, was issued pills to induce labour and gave birth to Blake-Riley Ward on February 8.

Lesley and her boyfriend were given information on the Sands charity, which helps people who have lost babies before, during or after birth, and she is now hoping to do something in return.

She said: “He was kicking perfectly fine that morning and it must have been in those few hours that he passed away. It was heartbreaking. Within a few hours he had gone.”

Lesley was later told that the loss of her son was the result of the blood in the umbilical cord clotting, probably triggered by his own movement.

Before Blake’s cremation, the family sought help and advice from Sands. They were issued a bereavement pack and had an open dialogue via email.

In a bid to show her appreciation for the support, and to raise awareness of the charity, Lesley has organised two events dubbed Blake’s Days at Dewsbury Road Social Club in Beeston on July 29 and 30.

The first night will have a ‘superhero meets princesses’ theme, bouncy castle, tombola, raffles and stalls, while the second will feature performers including the X Factor’s Tom Bleasby, quizzes and bingo. For more on the events visit facebook.com/events/1097223670298715.

Lesley, who has already raised £800 for Sands, said: “I wanted to give something back and I hope that through doing this other people in the same situation will know there’s support out there.”

More than 5,700 babies died before, during or after birth in the UK in 2013. For more on Sands visit uk-sands.org.

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