A KNOWLE couple whose beloved son died last year are backing a campaign to cut the number of stillbirths in the UK.
Matt and Juliette Gaunt, whose son Benjamin was stillborn on November 26, have also raised £10,000 for charity SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Deaths) in just a few short months.
Following Ben’s tragic death, the couple have been focusing their energies on boosting funds for the charity and raising awareness of the issue.
“We were shocked to learn that 17 babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth every day in the UK.
“These figures are higher than cot death,” Juliette said.
“Currently there is not enough awareness of still births and while we don’t want to frighten people, it is vital the awareness is out there so these figures can be reduced.”
Matt and Juliette are supporting the charity’s call to improve antenatal care, particularly in the monitoring of babies during pregnancy.
“Everyone knows about the first 12- week danger period of pregnancy but what about the end stages of pregnancy?” Matt asked.
“The stillbirth figures have been the same since 1990 - they need to start coming down, especially with the advances in medicine.”
The couple also want to raise money for more ‘cool cots,’ which preserves the baby longer so that family can spend time with their loved one.
“Being able to spend time with the baby really helps, not only the parents but also other family members,” Matt said.
“But the cot costs £6,000 and then £200 a year to maintain it, so funding is vital.”
Family and friends rallied round recently to take part in a fundraiser at Crust, a Shirley pizzeria, where they took part in a series of food challenges.
“We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received, not only from family and friends but also from people we don’t even know,” Juliette said.
The Gaunts’ son went the term plus 12 days before he was, as the couple describe, ‘born sleeping.’
Juliette added: “Ben was a much loved and much wanted baby boy who has made a huge hole which cannot be filled in our lives and the lives of many family, friends and acquaintances.”
If you would like to help boost funds in memory of Ben, go to the website at www.justgiving.com/benjaminmatthew