Sunderland community starts knitting to attract stillborn baby clothes

MEMBERS of the Sunderland community have been inspired to knit and crochet, donating dozens of small garments to a local funeral director after she started making blankets, hats and mittens for dead babies -born.

Aimee Hughes, funeral director at Walker & Morrell Funeral Directors in Washington, Sunderland, learned to crochet after being emotional while hosting funerals for babies too fragile to wear traditional baby clothes.

She said: “A lot of stillborn babies unfortunately come to us undressed because they are so small. I started crocheting little woolen hats, socks and blankets for them to wear and was inundated with donations from the local community, including materials and other woolen items.

The funeral director learned how to crochet from video tutorials on YouTube during lockdown restrictions after a suggestion from her aunt.

She said: “I’m pretty crafty and I do a lot of cross-stitching, but I’ve never understood knitting. When my aunt suggested crocheting to me, I was finally able to realize my idea.

Aimee posted a photo of her woolen cardigans, blankets and mittens on Facebook and immediately received messages from people wanting to help.

She continued: “Thanks to the generosity of the people of Washington and Sunderland, we now have plenty of clothes to offer babies at Walker & Morrell.”

Aimee donates surplus clothing to staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Mortuary in Gateshead, who share them with the rest of the Hospital Foundation Trust. This includes the Royal Sunderland Hospital, as well as colleagues working in maternity wards, as the garments are also ideal for premature babies.

Clare King, Head of Charity Funds at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said: ‘We would like to sincerely thank Aimee for taking the time to handcraft these baby clothes and choosing to donate them to us. His efforts will make a huge difference in the lives of parents and families at Queen Elizabeth. We are very grateful for his support.

Aimee now aims to provide Queen Elizabeth Hospital with a blanket and hat for every stillborn and premature baby in their care.

She also recently donated her 21st pint of blood for newborns, her blood carrying a special antibody that aids their development.

She concluded: “I am absolutely amazed by the kindness and support of our local community. It was heartwarming to hear stories of moms who lost babies and wanted to help other women in times of need.

Donations may be made on Aimee’s initiative at Walker & Morrell Funeral Directors at 4 West View, Concord, Washington, NE37 2DT.

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