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Newmarket mum raises more than £3,000 for counselling charity Petals

A Newmarket mother whose baby son was stillborn a year ago has marked his birthday by raising more than £3,000 for a baby loss counselling charity.

Samantha Woodley, 29, who lives at Freshfields with her partner Adam Sheath and sons Ethan, eight, and two-year-old Hugo, was devastated when baby Theo was delivered on March 21 last year, the day after his heart had stopped beating.

“It was hard, really hard, for all of us,” said Samantha. “But Adam and I went to see counsellors at Petals and they helped us to get through the loss. I had to carry on for my boys but I don’t know how I would have done it without them.”

Samantha Woodley, centre with sons Ethan and Hugo, and some of the 68 supporters who completed Theo’s Walk.
Samantha Woodley, centre with sons Ethan and Hugo, and some of the 68 supporters who completed Theo’s Walk.

Petals, which stands for Pregnancy Expectations Trauma and Loss Society, was set up in 2011 by a group of healthcare professionals alongside women who had first-hand experience of stillbirth, neo-natal death, miscarriage and other pregnancy-related trauma.

There was an outcry last autumn when the Cambridge Clinical Care Group refused the Addenbrooke’s-based group’s request for £70,000 funding and their work was suspended for three months until a number of private donations enabled it to be reinstated.

To mark Theo’s birthday, Samantha planned a seven-and-a-half mile sponsored walk from the Rosie Hospital to Bottisham Social Club. “To start with it was just going to be Adam and me, but once people found out about it they all wanted to join in so in the end there were 68 people including Ethan on his bike and Hugo in his pushchair,” she said. “The money we raised will pay for 44 counselling sessions”.

Samantha thanked Cambridge Tours, who gave them a coach free of charge, Tesco who provided water and en route refreshments, Binkie & Bear for donating T-shirts, all the businesses and individuals who gave generous raffle prizes and Bottisham Social Club.

“It was overwhelming ,” she said.

The one person who could not join the walk was Samantha herself. She is expecting a baby girl, to be named Olivia, but a number of complications mean she is again having support from Petals.

“You don’t know about Petals until you have a loss and then you don’t know what you would have done without them, she said.