HEARTBROKEN parents whose daughter died after being born 13 weeks premature are channelling their grief into fundraising for the hospital which helped them.
Gosport couple Chanelle Rawlinson and Matt Lunnon experienced a complicated pregnancy with Lacey, their first child together, and as a result she was delivered by emergency caesarean section at 27 weeks.
Lacey had not developed properly, and sadly died seven hours after she was born in Princess Anne Hospital, Southampton.
Chanelle, 24, said: ‘The Neonatal Unit at Princess Anne gave our daughter a true fighting chance which we will forever be grateful for and they are the reason we got to spend some time with our daughter before she took her last breath.
‘They made every second precious and something we can forever cherish.’
After ‘amazing’ support from staff at the hospital before, during and after Lacey’s birth, Chanelle and Matt decided just six weeks ago to start their own fundraising organisation called LittleLacey to give back to the neonatal unit.
Matt, 35, said: ‘In her memory and in her name we wanted to do something for Princess Anne.
‘We can’t fault them at all, they’re worth their weight in gold.’
Chanelle added: ‘They don’t act like they’re doctors or anything, they act like they’re friends of yours.
‘They had become a part of the family, they literally did everything they could.’
Kickstarting the fundraising efforts will be their first event on Saturday: a quiz night at the Jolly Roger Pub in Gosport from 8pm, which has already raised more than £1,400.
More than 50 people are expected to turn up including Gosport’s mayor Kathleen Jones, and the couple have sold more than 1,000 raffle tickets so far, with 70 prizes including a weekend trip to Spain and a seven-day spa pass.
The couple, who recently got engaged, said they have received a lot of support from family, friends, colleagues and strangers and they have become closer than ever.
Matt said: ‘It’s made us stronger and we are inseparable.’
Possible future plans for the fundraising organisation include a parachute jump, charity walk and family fun day.
Head down to the Jolly Roger on Saturday to donate to LittleLacey, and follow the Facebook page for updates.