A Halifax couple who raised £22,000 for a new Maternity Bereavement Suite at Calderdale Royal Hospital have been shortlisted for three categories of the Yorkshire Choice Awards.
Ben Moorhouse, 37, a customer services advisor for Together Housing Group, and his partner, 39-year-old Gaynor Thompson, a section coordinator for Marks and Spencer, set up Stillbirth Awareness & Fundraising in memory of their daughter Kallipateira, who was stillborn last October, less than two weeks before her due date.
“While we were at the hospital holding our dead daughter in our arms, we could hear babies being born and crying next door on the ward,” Moorhouse said. “When we left the ward, we were met by a family coming in with congratulations balloons and a car seat. A bereavement suite will give parents and their families a quiet, secure and private place where they can spend time to create vital and precious memories.”
Since then, Moorhouse’s fundraising efforts have included the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge and breaking the UK Coast to Coast record, walking 130 miles from Morecambe to Bridlington in 42 hours with no sleep.
Hot on the heels of winning the Fundraising Campaign Award at the Calderdale Community Spirit Awards, the couple are now in the running for the Kate Granger Award for Outstanding Contribution, Inspirational Individual of the Year and Local Fundraiser of the Year at the Yorkshire Choice Awards.
The winners are decided by public vote and will be announced at the awards’ gala dinner in Leeds in March next year.
“We have been humbled by the support from friends and family, colleagues and neighbours, strangers and celebrities,” Moorhouse added. “Now we’d like to ask the people of Halifax and beyond to keep showing their support by voting for us and helping us to keep Stillbirth Awareness & Fundraising in the spotlight in the New Year.”
Moorhouse has also set up a support group for men who have suffered baby loss locally.
“Stillbirth is just as devastating for dads as it is for mums but somehow it doesn’t seem socially acceptable for them to grief in the same way,” he added. “There is this expectation that men must be the strong ones for the rest of the family. I want to break the taboo around it and reassure men going through what I went through that it’s okay not to be okay.”
He added: “We had so many hopes and dreams for our daughter. It broke our hearts in so many ways, but I made a promise to her that we would continue to do her proud. We are not strong .We are not brave. We are just doing what we have to do for our daughter and to help others.”
For more information on Stillborn Awareness & Fundraising: Kallipateira Rodothea Moorhouse, visit www.facebook.com/stillbirthawarenessandfundraising.
To donate towards the Maternity Bereavement Suite at Calderdale Royal Hospital, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/krm2019
Main Image: Gaynor Thomson (left) and Ben Moorhouse (right) receiving their Calderdale Community Spirit Award