Vote success boosts work of charity helping parents

Bicester Advertiser: Karen Hancox with her children Charleigh and Konnor; below, far left, meeting Samantha Cameron at 10 Downing Street  Picture: OX55657 Jon Lewis Buy this photo » Karen Hancox with her children Charleigh and Konnor; below, far left, meeting Samantha Cameron at 10 Downing Street Picture: OX55657 Jon Lewis

AN Oxfordshire stillbirth and neonatal death charity has won the lion’s share of the public vote — and the £3,000 prize — in this year’s Lloyds Bank Community Fund.

Sands, which helps and supports parents through the trauma and grief of stillbirth, was up against The Let’s Play Project, Banbury, The Sunshine Centre children’s centre, Banbury, and Fritwell Village Hall near Bicester, in the final stage of the competition, but scooped almost half of all the votes to secure the joint top cash award.

Co-chairman of Sands, Karen Hancox, 35, and from Banbury, said: “We were thrilled to learn that over 49 per cent of the 4,427 votes cast in Banbury were for Sands.

“We would like to thank the public for their valuable votes and not only for the money, which will be used to fund equipment for the Horton Maternity Unit in Banbury, but also for the chance to raise awareness of our work for bereaved parents.

“We will be buying a special Cold Cot for the maternity unit. This is a cooling mat that can be placed in a Moses basket, to prolong the time parents can spend with their baby, making memories, before they say goodbye.”

Second place in the vote, The Let’s Play Project also received £3,000, while The Sunshine Centre children’s centre and Fritwell Village Hall near Bicester will each receive £300.

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Mrs Hancox’s daughter Kayleigh was stillborn in 2007, one of 6,000 babies who die at birth or in the first 28 days of life each year. Earlier this month Karen Hancox was among 20 representatives of Sands branches invited to attend a special reception hosted by Samantha Cameron at 10 Downing Street, in appreciation of the charity’s work.

She said: “Being invited to the National Sands reception was very special, as a small number of us were representing the work of around 104 very hard working branches around the country.

“Samantha Cameron gave a small speech about the importance of more research into stillbirth and neonatal death and seemed very interested in the work of the charity.

“She did not mention the loss of her own son (Ivan), but child bereavement must be an issue close to her heart and when she came around to meet us all briefly I introduced myself as being from Oxfordshire, and we chatted about the John Radcliffe Hospital and Sands’ work there.”

Oxfordshire Sands will hold its Annual Baby Remembrance Service on Sunday at 2.30pm at St Anthony of Padua Church, next to  John Radcliffe Hospital, in Oxford. All bereaved families are welcome.



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