I first became involved with Sands in 1992 after Kieran died. I felt totally lost and isolated and the social worker at the maternity hospital encouraged me to contact Sands. She gave me Nancy Kohner’s book to read and I knew about Bel Mooney from a programme I’d watched.
There was nothing in my area at the time so, in 1993, I started Hull Sands and held our first meeting in April that year – 32 people attended. I shook with nerves, but soon realised this was the right thing to do.
I think I can count on one hand how many meetings I’ve had to cancel over the years; something I am truly proud of.
My role at first was everything – my family helped with fundraising, but I did the befriending and general running of the group long before the committee we now have. Currently I am the chair, and I still befriend and support the other befrienders, fundraise, help with events, run and attend groups and organise our twice yearly memorial services – we will be holding our 50th this December.
I volunteer because there is such a need for our group and the support we offer. It has brought me some of my dearest friends and helps keep Kieran in my life. Kieran is my motivation to stay; I would much sooner have brought him up, but as that couldn’t be so this is his way of touching the world – he has made such a difference.
I feel some of the most important work Sands does is the support and research. We must stop this epidemic of loss; these babies matter. I feel these are the most important things for Sands now and in the future. Like our local group, Sands has grown – the training we do is so vital and welcomed by the professionals we reach.
I am most proud of my son, my family and Hull Sands being here for our community for 25 years. The services are very important to me we hold one on Father’s Day and one the Sunday before Christmas. We invest so much time in our living children these few hours means so much to parents to invest in their babies who can’t be here.
This year our Wave of Light was attended by 250 people; so sad but such an achievement to be able to organise that.
My husband Kev has always been there, he never complains about the time I have given to Sands, which often comes before him and family and friends. My sons have always supported me and have folded more tombola and raffle tickets than I can count. And my Sands family are always there through the good and the bad, we gain strength from each other and carry on.
Ashleigh Corker, North East Network Coordinator, said: “Maggie set up and has been part of Hull and East Yorkshire Sands for over 25 years following the loss of her son Kieran. Maggie is such an amazing lady and has helped so many people over the years. Maggie always has time for you and is loved by everyone she meets. Maggie will tell you it is all a team effort but the truth is she is an inspiration to us all.”