More than 100 youngsters and their teddies enjoyed an al fresco lunch and raised cash to fund free counselling for couples who have suffered the heartache of losing a baby.
Deniece Colley, 37, who lives in Hemel’s Old Town, set up Forget Me Not Memory Boxes following the loss of her unborn son Reece in 2011.
The mum-of-five now runs a weekly playgroup and regular events – like the picnic in Chaulden Adventure Playground on Sunday – to fund her charity, which provides memory boxes for bereaved parents leaving Watford Hospital.
But Deniece, who lives with husband Matthew, 35, said: “When we had Reece, we were told there had been a referral for counselling from Watford Hospital to Hemel.
“We waited three weeks and heard nothing, so I called my midwife. It turned out the referral had been lost.
“It was sorted out, but if I hadn’t have made that phone call,nothing would have happened.”
Deniece decided to ‘fill the gap’ for bereaved parents after hearing there was an increase in demand, with people struggling to get counselling on the NHS.
She said:“Either the waiting list is too long or there isn’t anything to offer them.”
Forget Me Nots is now in talks with the local branch of the Stillborn And Neonatal Deaths (SANDs) charity about co-ordinating referrals for counselling.
More than £350 was raised from the Teddy Bear’s Picnic, and cash from events like these will go towards funding the cost of counselling sessions, meaning those who need the vital service will be able to get help for free.
The charity will continue to provide memory boxes, which contain things like a warm blanket, finger print kit, and forget-me-not seeds, to support parents in their loss.
For more information, visit www.fmn.org.uk