Friendship helps couple through pain

BEREAVED Parents Katie, left, and Brendan Butcher, right, with friend Cloe Raan.  Picture: Malcolm Wells (114199-9444)
BEREAVED Parents Katie, left, and Brendan Butcher, right, with friend Cloe Raan. Picture: Malcolm Wells (114199-9444)
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WHEN Katie Butcher lost her baby, it felt like her world had fallen apart.

Her and husband Brendan had longed to start a family.

But they were left devastated when doctors told them their son James, who was more than a week overdue, had died.

Mrs Butcher, 26, had to go through the trauma of childbirth knowing she would never see her child grow up.

To add to their heartache the couple, who both work, could not afford the £800 cost of a headstone for their son and instead, after paying out £500 for the funeral they never dreamed they would have to arrange, they could only put a small wooden plaque on their son’s grave.

Family friend Cloe Raan, 20, from Southsea, was so moved by the couple’s plight she decided to raise the money herself by handcrafting blankets, name banners, jewellery and mobile phone covers.

She has since been inundated with requests and is hoping to raise the money within months from donations for her products.

Mrs Butcher, of King Albert Court, Fratton, said: ‘It was pretty much a text book pregnancy. Everything was going well and we were all ready, everything was packed and the crib was up.

‘But one day I couldn’t feel any movement. I went straight into hospital and they found his heart had just stopped beating.

‘We have had the results of the post-mortem and there was no specific reason, health-wise, for what happened. He was perfectly healthy.’

Mrs Butcher had to go through the horrific experience of giving birth.

She said: ‘It was awful. I gave birth to silence, that’s the hardest part. There were no cries.’

It has been a harrowing time for the couple, who married two years ago after meeting at university.

But friendship has given them hope.

‘We looked into the costs for the headstones and children are actually more expensive than adults. They’re extortionate,’ she said.

‘Obviously this was not something we had planned for and we did not have the money to buy one. Cloe has been an absolute star. It devastated her to see all James had was a wooden plaque.

‘She is incredibly talented and has made lots of things to sell. It completely blew us away that she would want to give up her time to help us.

‘Cloe has even given up her part-time job to concentrate on getting the orders out.

‘She is combining it with studying at university. We just can’t thank her enough for what she is doing for us.’

Cloe, an economics student at Leicester University, said: ‘It was so sad for Katie and Brendan.

‘They were expecting to bring home their lovely baby but that didn’t happen. I wanted to help them and as I’ve always been good at making things this seemed perfect.’

Once the £1,000 for the headstone has been raised the money will go to the charity SANDS which supports families which have suffered still births.

Mrs Butcher added: ‘There is no reason why we shouldn’t try again. I have always wanted to be a mother and I think Brendan will make a fantastic father.’