Thirteen-month-old Sol Sommerville Williams, who has just taken his first steps, is enrolled on a 5k sponsored walk to support Nottingham Hospitals Charity.
Sol is taking part in the Thoresby 10 on 23 October to raise money for Zephyr’s – a fund set up by his parents Carly Williams and Martin Sommerville – to create a special support centre for bereaved parents at Nottingham City Hospital. Their first child Zephyr was stillborn at the hospital in 2013.
Carly says: “Little Solly has just mastered the art of travelling on foot at the helm of a small wooden trolley and already he’s booked in for his first 5k! It might seem a bit much to expect of someone so young, but rest assured, he’s likely to travel most of the route carried on his mum or dad’s back!
“Although it’s terribly sad that our first son died, we strive to honour and include him in Sol’s life with a smile. That’s why we’re doing this walk together as a way of being with both our boys. Not only that, but we are raising money to support others like us, when they go through the heartbreaking loss of a child.”
Carly and Martin, with friends and supporters, have raised £20,000 through Nottingham Hospitals Charity to fund the Zephyr’s centre, set to open this month. They have worked with volunteers to convert a former flat on the hospital campus into the facility which will offer services, counselling and complementary therapies to families who have lost a child or baby.
The centre will also provide a drop in facility for bereaved parents to come and chat to others who have had similar experiences.
Carly says: “The care we had when we lost Zephyr was fantastic. Midwives and hospital staff held us with such compassion, doing their best to ease our broken hearts, but the surroundings felt so wrong. When you have just lost a child it is hard to be around the joy of new birth.
“After a pregnancy loss, it’s very common for bereavement services to be offered in the maternity ward setting, alongside expectant couples, surrounded by painful memories. For us, and for many parents we’ve met since, that was the last place we wanted to be. So we began to dream of an alternative.”
Nottingham Hospitals Charity Chief Executive Barbara Cathcart says: “It’s great to hear that Sol will be walking for this fund set up in his brother’s name and we wish him all the best on the day.
“We are proud to support the Zephyrs centre which promises to be a place of compassion where families can receive much needed support to help them recover from their loss. We hope he achieves his personal best on the day!”