Emotional scenes as hundreds gather at Souter lighthouse to mark baby loss awareness week

There were moving scenes in the autumn darkness at Souter Lighthouse in Whitburn, to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week.

By Tony Gillan
Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 8:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 1:38 pm
Hundreds of candles were lit at Souter Lighthouse by people who had lost babies and children.
Hundreds of candles were lit at Souter Lighthouse by people who had lost babies and children.

At the occasion organised by the charity 4Louis, which supports families through miscarriage, stillbirth and child loss, candles were lit to create a “Wave of Light”.

A harpist performed at the poignant event, which was attended by hundreds of people from around the North East, who have been affected by the loss of a child.

Kim Dobison, 37, from Stanley lost her daughter Ava Rose, who was stillborn on New Year’s Ever 2018 after a pregnancy term of 41 weeks.

Kim said: “It’s beautiful. It’s been overwhelming to see so many people.

“It’s so lovely that all of our friends came and supported us because they’ve been touched by our story and similar ones. It’s an amazing thing for 4Louis to do.”

Kim’s husband, Mark Dobison, 39, added: “It’s been amazing. Nice and peaceful, but not what I was expecting to be honest. It’s really nice to get everyone together who’s in the same boat. It’s a bit of comfort.”

Jennifer Pearce Skipsey, 41, from Silksworth, had a stillborn son, Jayden, on June 25, 2010 after a 33-and-a-half-week pregnancy. She was at the lighthouse with her daughter Jenna, eight.

Jennifer said: “It was 4Louis who gave us our memory box. I love this event. It brings families together who have lost a child one way or another; either a miscarriage or a stillborn.

“Although you celebrate your child in your own way, it’s comforting to know that there’s other people out there who can relate to your pain. You don’t get over it. But you learn to live with it.”

Jennifer’s husband, James Skipsey, said: “I just like coming here because it keeps the memory and know we’re not the only ones.”

James’ mam, Lesley Kershaw of Southwick, has lost two grandchildren; Jayden and her daughter Samantha Kershaw’s son Connor, who was full-term stillborn on January 2, 2018.

Lesley said: “It’s the first time I’ve been here and it’s lovely. It helps you gather your thoughts and say ‘We’re thinking of you.’ I’ve never got over it. With Jennifer and our Samantha being here, it helps.”