New men's football team in Portsmouth helps grieving men with loss of baby

A NEW football team has been launched to help grieving men with losing a baby.

Thursday, 11th July 2019, 4:34 pm
Updated Monday, 15th July 2019, 8:36 am
Tony Snook appllies the Sands United logo to Bradley Houghton. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (140719-2)

Sands United FC Solent, a football club for grieving dads in the Portsmouth area, was officially launched at Gosport Borough Football club on Sunday.

The club aims to offer men a safe space after losing a baby through stillbirth, miscarriage or neonatal death – while breaking down the taboo around men’s mental health in the process.

And with 33 dads already signed-up for the team, the newly chartered football club, that will take par t in the Gosport, Fareham and Solent league, is already showing its worth.

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The launch event proved a hit with locals as around 400 people turned up to watch the new side take on Port Solent and Co-op Funeralcare.

Nick Lang, the co-founder of the team who lost his daughter Evalyn said: ‘We lost our baby when she was 38 weeks after she was stillborn. It was a perfect pregnancy but her heart just stopped.

‘It is important for people to go and get checked out if they think there is no movement or they think there is a problem – women know their body better than the medics.’

Speaking of how he hopes the team will help men, Nick said: ‘Baby death is a topic society doesn’t talk about. There is a taboo around it. We hope to change that and give men a place where they can come and talk if they want.

‘But it’s all about creating an environment of people who have gone through or are going through the same thing.

‘We want to show people that despite the devastation of losing a baby you can still be positive and smile and have a laugh. ’

The team, as their name suggests, are backed by Portsmouth and Chichester SANDS – a charity for stillborn and neonatal deaths.

Emma Hayward, a befriender for the charity, who offers support to people, said: ‘It’s a great idea for them to come together in an informal environment and share their experiences and support each other, plus they get to play football.’

Ali Davison, sponsor for Co-op funerelcare, said: ‘It’s an amazing idea. These dads have all gone through the same thing so it’s important for them all to help each other.’