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Sam and Sophie donate special gift to us

A family from Heaton has donated a special gift of a ‘cuddle cot’ which will be used to give families extra time with their loved one after a baby or toddler has died.

Our Children and Young Adults Service provides short breaks for children with life-shortening conditions from across the region, plus support for families. We can also provide care for babies, children and young adults who are at the end of their lives.

Sam and Sophie Dennis visited us to donate the cuddle cot, which is a specialist piece of equipment designed to keep a baby cool to allow parents to spend up to 72 hours with their child after they have died.

The couple benefitted from the use of a cuddle cot when their daughter, Autumn, died in hospital two hours after birth in October 2017. The family has been fundraising with local charity 4Louis, based in Washington, who support anyone affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and the death of a baby or child.

Sophie said:

Our baby Autumn was 22 weeks and 6 days old when she was born and it was thought she wouldn’t survive birth. She lived for two hours but without the cuddle cot we wouldn’t have had the precious time we spent with her in the hours after.


We felt privileged to have the cuddle cot, and it was really comforting in a very sad situation. Straight away Sam and I decided that we wanted to give back and fundraise to help other people.

Sam added:

Sophie was in hospital for three days, but if it wasn’t for the cuddle cot, she would have just been sent home. No parent should have to go through that. We want to help local families, which is why we have fundraised for the cuddle cot and decided to donate it to a local charity, so that it benefits families in the North East.