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Praise for power of Facebook as Ipswich fundraisers support bereaved mother

PUBLISHED: 19:46 21 April 2017

Michele Blair with her husband Chris and daughter Peyton. Picture: MICHELE BLAIR

Michele Blair with her husband Chris and daughter Peyton. Picture: MICHELE BLAIR

Archant

A bereaved mother in Scotland is finally able to buy a headstone for her son’s grave 19 months after his death thanks to kind-hearted fundraisers in Ipswich.

Michele Blair struggled with the financial burden of organising a burial for baby Christopher after she delivered him stillborn in September 2015, so her friends set up a GoFundMe page in a bid to collect £1,900 to help.

However, when the appeal failed to take off, Ipswich woman Amy Stoddart-Kapp was moved to take action.

The pair became friends through a pregnancy support group on Facebook, which was started by Charlotte Gritty, also from Ipswich.

Miss Stoddart-Kapp, who went through an early miscarriage three years ago, banded together with the other mothers in the group and within two months they had raised enough money for the headstone, which will be in place for Christopher’s second birthday.

“When you lose a child you have to prepare yourself mentally and physically, you can’t imagine you have to prepare yourself financially as well,” Miss Stoddart-Kapp said.

“Facebook gets such negative talk and it’s so nice that something so amazing could happen on Facebook. For a group of mums to pull together and make something happen.”

Although they have never met face to face, Mrs Blair, who has a nine-year-old daughter, Peyton, said the women in the online pregnancy group were like family to her.

“While I was pregnant I probably didn’t use the group as much but I just thought my pregnancy was quite easy compared to some people,” she added.

“Then when Christopher died it was amazing how much people I have never met were there for me.

“I don’t think they will ever understand how much they all mean to me. They have just been so good - and they are still there.

“Hopefully one day I will be able to meet them in person.”

Mrs Blair, who lives with husband Chris, also praised social media for its power of connecting like-minded people from across the world.

“You always hear the bad stories but you never hear the good stories where everyone is helping each other,” she added.

Miss Gritty said the members of her Facebook group were “really close” and were able to lean on each other for anything.

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A teenager who had to be freed from the wreckage of a car by firefighters following a crash in Essex today is fighting for his life in hospital.

As the deadline for Stars of Suffolk nominations approaches, organiser Mick Parker is looking ahead to the “emotional and wonderful” annual ceremony that brings together the county’s unsung heroes for one night of celebration.

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