Sheffield mum keeps young son's memory alive by raising cash for children's hospice

A Sheffield mum is keeping her beloved son’s memory alive by creating keyring charms to sell to raise cash for the children’s hospice where he died.

By Claire Lewis
Saturday, 26th June 2021, 9:15 am

Claire Malcolmson, from Gleadless, said her heartbreaking final goodbye to her eight-year-old son, Joe, at Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice in Rotherham in 2015.

Her beloved son, known affectionately by everyone at the hospice as ‘Mr Joe’, had a progressive genetic condition called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which meant he needed round the clock care.

He and his family visited the hospice for several years for respite care and support and as a thank you, Claire has designed and crafted a range of keyring charms being sold via Bluebell Wood’s online shop.

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Sheffield mum Claire Malcolmson and her young son, Joe, who passed away at Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice

Recalling the first time Claire and Joe visited Bluebell Wood, the grieving mum said: “I was really scared and was so worried it would be just like being in hospital, where Joe had spent so much of his little life. But from the minute you walk through the doors, you realise it’s just like being at home.

“Bringing him to Bluebell Wood meant that he could stay with the nurses while I got some much-needed sleep. I have a chronic kidney condition too which means I have to undergo dialysis so having that extra help and support really was life-changing.”

After Joe passed away in 2015, Claire stayed with her little boy in one of the hospice’s end-of-life-suites.

“It gave me precious time to spend with my beautiful boy until his celebration, which meant more than I can put into words,” Claire added.

“Joe didn’t always understand things, due to having a large bleed on his brain at birth causing neurological problems - but he knew when a voice was angry, happy or loving. At Bluebell Wood he was always surrounded by lots of love.

“I’ll always be grateful to Bluebell Wood for making my time with my amazing Mr Joe the best ever, and I’ll always do whatever I can to help so that other families can receive the same love, care and support that we did.”

Claire first started making her keyring charms when she was struggling to sleep.

“Being a single mum I was up every three hours through the night for Joe’s care, and after he passed away it doesn’t just stop overnight,” she said.

“I didn’t have a reason or purpose for being awake so it seemed like a really good way to make use of the time.

“When I showed them to other parents at the bereavement group at Bluebell Wood there were quite a few who wanted one for themselves, and it just built from there.

“It’s been six years since Joe passed away and you do fear that everyone is going to forget him. So as well as helping the place that did so much for us, this is a way of keeping Joe’s memory alive.”

Terri Hanson, Head of Retail at Bluebell Wood, said: “Claire’s designs really are beautiful and we’re incredibly grateful that she’s using her talents to help raise funds for the hospice.

“We’re very proud to be able to help keep Mr Joe’s memory alive and every penny we raise through the charms will help us to be there for other local families when they need our care and support.”

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