Julie was 21 and couldn’t wait for her daughter, who she’d already decided to call Erin, to be born. But when she went for a scan at 37 weeks, she was devastated to be told that Erin had no heartbeat.
But after she so tragically lost her daughter she struggled to get the support she needed, and battled suicidal feelings. “I just didn’t want to be here,” says Julie, now 40. “I wanted to be with Erin.”
Julie and her husband Bryan went on to have three more children – Demi, now 16, Aiden, 14 and Leon, five – but the memory of Erin and how little support they had received after her death stayed with them.
Which is why they set up Baby Loss Retreat in 2018. The charity offers weekends away to bereaved mums and dads in Scotland. They are free to attend and give couples a quiet place to talk about and process their loss.
The National Lottery Awards is the annual search for the UK’s favourite National Lottery-funded people and projects. This year will continue to celebrate people who have gone above and beyond during these challenging times.
Nominate now in 5 categories:
● Culture, Arts & Film
● Young Hero (under 18)
All nominees must work or act for a National Lottery-funded organisation or have received National Lottery funding. Entries must be received by midnight on June 7, 2021.
To nominate someone for a 2021 National Lottery Award, simply complete an entry form at lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards
“We wanted to offer something to people who have suffered like us as a family, as they continue to deal with the loss that never leaves them,” says Julie.
Last year, in recognition of her work, Julie won The National Lottery Community and Charity Award.
“Winning the award made me feel really emotional, as the charity has been set up in memory of Erin,” says Julie. “I felt so proud too – It’s such a fitting tribute to our little girl.
“We spent the £3,000 award money on keeping our offices open during lockdown so, when it was safe, parents still had a place to come and talk.
“It’s fantastic to be recognised,” she adds. “Bryan and I work so hard, as do all our volunteers. Since winning we’ve had such lovely letters from parents, congratulating us and saying they wouldn’t be here without us. It’s really helped people find out about the charity’s work too
Thanks to National Lottery players, around £30 million goes every week to good causes like Baby Loss Retreat. The National Lottery Awards are a chance to celebrate the inspirational work of the ordinary people and projects who do extraordinary things with the help of National Lottery funding.
Nearly 5,000 local heroes were nominated in 2020, and this year it is hoped there will be even more put forward for recognition.
“I’d say to anyone who wants to nominate someone, just do it,” adds Julie. “It will really make a difference to them and their charity. And it’s down to all the people who play the National Lottery. Without their support we wouldn’t get funding.”