Highland mum who lost baby makes big-hearted gesture to help others; Raigmore Hospital in Inverness benefits from 'cuddle cots' gift
A Highland mum whose baby was born "sleeping" 20 weeks early has raised enough cash for two state-of-the-art cuddle cots for Raigmore Hospital.
Charlene Vass (31) was due to give birth on Tuesday last week but will instead marked the day by presenting two specialist baby units.
Ms Vass, known as Charlie, and her partner James Gordon were devastated when maternity staff told her, at a routine scan, that her baby was no longer alive and that she would need to go through a labour.
An emotional Ms Vass, who is from Alness, found herself in a situation that all mothers dread and the couple's baby was born a few days later.
Holding the couple's baby for the first time, they named her Amelia. Ms Vass was given the hospital's only cuddle cot so they could spend the precious hours they needed with their only daughter. The couple have three boys aged nine, seven and three.
Ms Vass said: "Nothing can prepare you for this news or the emotions you will experience but we were very lucky to have such amazing support at Raigmore Hospital.
"We were lucky enough to receive the use of the only cuddle cot that the hospital has on ward 10. Thanks to this we were able to spend a very precious 13-and-a-half hours with our girl allowing us to have a few precious visitors and to make special memories.
"A cuddle cot has a device that pumps cold water into a pad that is positioned inside the cot to prevent baby's skin from deteriorating. It helps to slow down the process of appearance changes after death. This allows grieving parents time with their baby before having to say goodbye.
"We want to make sure other families have the same opportunity to spend those precious moments with their babies.
"I am completely overwhelmed with the support I have received to be able to gift two cuddle cots to the hospital. Each cot cost £3200. We started out with a plan to raise enough money for one cuddle cot, so it is incredible that we have been able to raise enough money for two.
"We have been overwhelmed with the kindness of people who have support us to hold raffles, and to raise money in Morrisons supermarket. It has been incredible. The Pat Munro company even donated £650."
The couple have a fundraising page at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/charlie-vass-1. Any further money raised will go towards supporting memory boxes for parents in a similar situation.