‘Angel gowns’ for Rotherham hospital

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Two South Yorkshire mums, who tragically lost their own babies, have donated handmade outfits to a local hospital.

Lisa Fletcher and Rachel Reynolds became friends after meeting through Sands, a national charity which helps parents affected by the death of a child.

Lisa, of Killamarsh, launched charity Dresses for Angels after her daughter, Lillie-Grace, was stillborn in October 2015, three days before her due date. Lisa says the charity, which sees volunteers create handmade outfits from old wedding dresses, helps her to keep her daughter’s memory alive.

In the past 10 months, volunteers have created more than 320 packs for babies throughout the country who have sadly died, with the latest box arriving at Rotherham Hospital last week.

Lisa, aged 42, said: “I work with a host of seamstresses, knitters and other volunteers to collect the wedding dresses women are kind enough to give us.

“I design and stitch the outfits - tiny girly dresses, romper suits with waistcoats for boys, hats, blankets and nappy covers - pack up the boxes and write the gift tags and messages of condolence. It’s emotional and tiring but it’s also rewarding to know I’m making a difference to other families who are sadly going through the pain of losing a baby.

“We use as much of the dresses as possible, from the netting to the bodices and any buttons and beads. They’re all created with love.”

The latest bundle of outfits have been donated to Rotherham Hospital’s Special Care Baby Unit in memory of Lily Jane Reynolds, the little girl Rachel and her husband Karl lost in March last year. When Lily Jayne died, Rachel received a dress, knitted hat and blanket from Dresses for Angels.

Rachel, aged 33, said: “It meant the world to me and my husband. Because Lily was so small, we wouldn’t have been able to find anything to fit her so, we were so grateful when our midwife Jayne found the tiny dress. This is why the donated dresses mean so much as it gives families a choice of something beautiful for their baby to wear. They are beautifully made and I hope they provide some comfort to other families.”

Requests for the custom-made packs have come from as far afield as Australia with brides from Spain and America also wanting to donate wedding dresses.

Call Lisa on 0741 5523665 for more details.