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Grantham couple to help ‘angel baby’ parents

By David Parker

Leigh Buff and Zara McDonald
Leigh Buff and Zara McDonald

A couple devastated by the stillbirth of their baby girl are taking steps to set up a not-for-profit organisation and support service.

A couple devastated by the stillbirth of their baby girl are taking steps to set up a not-for-profit organisation and support service.

Brandon, Summa, Learna and Talia
Brandon, Summa, Learna and Talia

When Zara McDonald and her partner, Leigh Buff, lost baby Natalia in 2010, just two days before Christmas, they were heartbroken.

Now, they want to help others by giving financial and emotional support to people in the Grantham area and beyond, by setting up Born Still Still Born.

Leigh, 31, said: “Stillbirth is quite a taboo subject and we want to be able to offer support to mums and dads.”

The couple live in Grantham with their four children, Brandon, 12, Summa, 8, Learna, 7, and Talia, 15 months. Natalia is their ‘angel baby’.

Pregnant with Natalia, Zara was taken to Lincoln County Hospital on December 22, 2010 to be induced. Sadly, there were complications in the final hours before the procedure was carried out and Natalia was stillborn.

Struggling financially, Zara and Leigh turned to family and friends to be able afford a funeral for their baby girl.

Leigh said: “There was no help for funerals. We wanted to bury our child and have a ceremony but we couldn’t afford it.”

And it wasn’t until 2014, three years later, that they were able to afford a headstone for Natalia’s grave.

This experience has led them to work on setting up support for others, which would include making grants for angels for headstones – stillborn babies are often called ‘angel babies’.

Writing on the Facebook page, Zara, 30, said: “It’s the worst thing a parent could ever go through and I really believe with more awareness some babies’ lives could be saved.

“We would like to help fund people like us that needed help and couldn’t quite fund themselves a funeral or a headstone or plaque for their little angels.”

It took several years to get answers from the hospital about the death of Natalia, and it was with help from Grantham firm JMP Solicitors. The bond Zara and Leigh formed with JMP has continued and the firm is now helping them with the legal work required to set up a not-for-profit organisation, at no cost.

In the meantime, the first fundraising event has been organised by Leigh and Zara – a casino night at The Gingerbread Centre, South Kesteven Sports Stadium, Trent Road, on Saturday, October 1, from 7pm.

‘Bringing Las Vegas to Grantham’, players will have ‘funny money’ to play with and the person at the end of the night with the most chips will win a prize. There will also be a raffle and an auction of sporting memorabilia.

Tickets are £10 per person. To book, contact the couple through Facebook page tiny url.com/bornstillstillborn


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