Sands 40th anniversary
Networks & Volunteering Team, Sands | 16 October 2018

Dawne Braine from our Hastings and East Sussex support group has been recognised for her fundraising, and has been nominated for a Pride of Britain Award.

Dawne has been fundraising for the Conquest Hospital, and supports bereaved parents as a Sands befriender.

Here is Dawne’s story:

From the moment my son George died I became very aware of the lack of support around for bereaved families. Nobody seemed to know ‘what to do with me’.  

I had great support from family and friends but I needed someone who understood what I had been through.

When I came round from the shock of losing George I knew I had to do something.

Seeing the new tiny graves arrive one after the other at the cemetery broke my heart and all I could think of was the families out there who didn’t have anywhere to turn.

I started supporting people originally on Facebook. I made a closed group and bereaved parents all used to talk about their losses. I knew this wasn’t enough and eventually approached Sands about becoming a Befriender.

Once the training was complete we had the uphill struggle of finding people to join us and start a committee. But eventually, after our local newspaper ran an article, two amazing ladies came forward to join us.

Since becoming a Befriender I have been even more determined to raise the money to refurbish the bereavement suite at Conquest Hospital, from the cold clinical room it is today into a home from home environment, where bereaved families can spend the last few precious moments with their baby in comfort.

Supporting bereaved families and fundraising are my way of keeping my George walking beside me every day.

I made him a promise before he passed away that he would be remembered always, if he hadn’t of lived, none of this would be happening, so this isn’t my award, it’s George’s.

There is a saying that even the smallest feet leave everlasting footprints on this world. George has certainly done that.

I’d also like to acknowledge that without the support of four amazing ladies Jayne, Suz, Jane, Kirsty and my husband Ian, I would not be able to do what I do. They are the most amazing friends, I wish I never had. 

Our chief executive, Dr Clea Harmer, said: “I want to congratulate Dawne on her wonderful achievement of being one of the final four nominees for a Pride of Britain Award.  What a fantastic and incredibly well-deserved recognition of all the amazing fundraising and awareness-raising she has done in memory of George.

“Sands is incredibly lucky to have such committed and hard-working volunteers – who make such an enormous difference for other bereaved parents and families.  Thank you so much – I am enormously grateful to Dawne and delighted that her work has been recognised in this way.”

Sands is marking its 40th anniversary this year and we would like to say thank you for the incredible support and contribution that our dedicated volunteers make across the UK to support bereaved parents and anyone affected by the death of a baby. 

We will be hosting an awards ceremony during the Sands 40th Anniversary Conference to celebrate the wide range of volunteering involvement in Sands and acknowledge 40 volunteers for their dedication and commitment. 

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