South Cambs couple to host Spurs Legends game for Petals charity after stillbirth tragedy
PUBLISHED: 12:55 21 July 2017
A South Cambs couple left devastated after their son was stillborn 20 weeks into pregnancy have organised a football match to raise funds for the cause which supported them after the tragedy.
Ellie Harnwell and her partner Stu Taylor were overjoyed at the news they were expecting a little sibling for their five-year-old son Alfie.
However, 13 weeks into the pregnancy Ellie got appendicitis, which was treated and they were told everything was fine.
It wasn’t until the 20-week scan at The Rosie Hospital in Cambridge that they learned little Joey was fighting for his life after the placenta became infected.
Ellie said: “They said the baby wasn’t moving much, and the next day my waters broke.
“The following day his heartbeat was flutuating a lot and I had another scan and they said there wasn’t any thing they could do.”
“In my head I thought it was going to be all right again because every time I had been in hospital it had been OK, so it didn’t quite click that anything was wrong. At the hospital they were saying ‘are you sure you don’t want to phone anybody?’ – I said ‘I’m alright’.”
Stu, who like Ellie is a teacher, rushed to the hospital from work and the couple tried to get their heads around the situation.
Ellie said: “I went into labour, which was bizarre. People do things like compare the size of a baby to a fruit – it’s hard to realise how early on they’re a person.
“Joey was a perfectly formed little baby. He was so small that he fit in Stu’s hand.”
“We then had to tell Alfie. He talks about it so innocently – he says: ‘I have got a baby brother, my baby brother lives in heaven’.
“We’re glad he talks about it but it’s heartbreaking at the same time.”
After Joey’s death in June last year, the couple from Eversden received counselling from Cambridge-based Petals – which provides counselling to parents who suffer trauma or loss during pregnancy and birth.
Ellie said: “In my first meeting with counsellor I said I thought I was alright until I realised I wasn’t. I hadn’t dealt with what had happened properly.
“I think Petals is exceptional at being able to judge what you need, and I had six months’ of support.
“Sometimes even with family you need that extra bit of help and it’s OK to ask for that. It’s not about moving on or getting over it, it’s about moving forward.”
Stu and Ellie, a member of Royston Netball Club for 10 years, decided they wanted to give something back to Petals.
As their families are lifelong Spurs fans and her brother Luke has links with Histon FC, they have organised a Spurs Legends charity match with family-friendly stalls and activities to take place this Sunday from 12 noon.
Stars including Darren Anderton, Mark Falco and Justin Edinburgh will be playing in the match at Histon’s Glassworld Stadium, which will also showcase the team’s new kit from sponsor Nike. Kick-off is at 2pm.
Tickets are still available for the event via Eventbrite. Adult tickets cost £5, under 16s are £1 and uunder 5s are free.
If you want to donate to their fundraising total for Petals, go to the page Ellie’s sister Louisa set up for the cause at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/louisa-harnwell.