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Mum whose daughter was stillborn lines seafront with remembrance ribbons

PUBLISHED: 11:30 13 October 2020 | UPDATED: 12:49 13 October 2020

Maria Gormley from Clacton has created a display for baby loss awareness week in memory of her daughter Laura  Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Maria Gormley from Clacton has created a display for baby loss awareness week in memory of her daughter Laura Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Charlotte Bond

A Clacton woman who lost her daughter when she was just 18 years old is lining the seafront with coloured ribbons to remember those who have died.

The display of ribbons and teddies at Clacton Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDThe display of ribbons and teddies at Clacton Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Maria Gormley, from Clacton, tragically lost her daughter, Laura, 32 years ago from an unexplained stillbirth and was never able to hold her baby girl – only having a Polaroid picture to remember her by.

To remember her daughter – and all the children lost to stillbirth – Maria has created a ribbon display for Baby Loss Awareness Week, with hundreds of pink, blue and white knitted teddies and ribbons to remember the lives lost.

The 50-year-old has organised the scheme – which she plans to recreate each year – to get people talking about the tragedy of baby loss.

“I was 18 when I had a stillbirth and it was an awful experience,” said Maria, who has spent the last 15 years working for Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity.

Maria Gormley with the display at Clacton Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDMaria Gormley with the display at Clacton Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

“Back then it was swept under the carpet and Laura was whisked away without me being allowed to hold her. All I have to remember her is a Polaroid photo,” she said.

Maria, who was 18 at the time, booked in for a scan after experiencing no movement or kicking for more than 24 hours.

She said she knew something was wrong and was “devastated” to find out her baby was dead.

“Laura plays a massive part of my life today, I will always remember her and by doing this I feel like I am giving back to her as she is not here,” said Maria, who went on to have a second daughter named Danielle.

The display marks Baby Loss Awareness Week and has raised £3,000  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDThe display marks Baby Loss Awareness Week and has raised £3,000 Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

There are now more than 500 ribbons on the display – with families far and wide getting in touch to have a ribbon for their child.

Maria said: “It’s lovely as people get somewhere to go and reflect and remember their baby. It’s so important that they are not forgotten.”

This year, Maria has raised more than £3,000 with the remembrance display, with local businesses getting involved and sponsoring teddies.

More than 100 businesses have signed up and the support from the community has been overwhelming. The display will be in place along the memorial gardens at Clacton seafront for the rest of this week to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week.

Teddies in memory of Maria Gormley's daughter Laura and other babies lost as part of Baby Loss Awareness Week Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDTeddies in memory of Maria Gormley's daughter Laura and other babies lost as part of Baby Loss Awareness Week Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

You can help donate to Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, on her JustGiving page here.


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