left to right Vicky Ross (Gold Dust and bereaved parent), Matt Davenport (Comedian and bereaved parent), Helen Grimshaw (Chair) and Karen Rowley (committee member) 

Blackpool and Preston Sands, part of Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity’s network of UK-wide support Groups, is hosting a comedy night to raise funds and vital awareness.

All are welcome to attend the comedy night that will take place on 1st October 2016 at 6.30pm at The Carousel Hotel, Blackpool. Guests will enjoy a welcome drink, hot buffet, a full evening of entertainment with a line-up of comedians, a performance from Gold Dust and a DJ until late. A grand raffle will also be drawn on the night and an auction.

Thousands of babies tragically die each year. In 2014, over 5,500 babies were stillborn or died soon after birth in the UK, shattering the lives of expectant parents, their families and their friends and the people who have cared for them.

It is hoped that the charity comedy night will raise awareness of the support available to bereaved families in the local area. The Group is run solely by volunteers so funds raised will help it to continue its vital work supporting families via monthly support meetings, telephone and email and working with their local hospital to improve bereavement care facilities and fund Sands bereavement care training.  

Helen Grimshaw, Chair of Blackpool and Preston Sands, said:

“Having been Chair of the group for nearly 4 years I decided it was time I organised an event in memory of all our babies that meant we could all come together and remember them, raise lots of money and have a good night doing so.

“I lost my own daughter Daisy 7 years ago this year, the pain is easier to manage but it never goes away. I could not have survived without this group and I want to make sure that the group continues to be able to offer support to others. The group is growing from strength to strength and we hope that in the next 12 months we will have enough support and volunteers to be able to offer monthly support meetings in the Preston area as well as Blackpool.”

Matt Davenport, one of the comedians performing on the night (both he and his partner Vicky are from Blackpool), said:

“Vicky and I found out that we had lost our unborn son at the 20 week scan on Christmas Eve 2013, it was a very difficult time for us and our family. If we can help raise some money for a charity that helps support people going through a similar situation that we did, then it's the least we can do. We now have a wonderful daughter Luna born in March 2015, and not a day goes by where we don't think about our little Star.

“After speaking with Vicky, having herself being a singer in various Motown and Tribute bands, she decided that it was only right that she dusted off the microphone too.

“To be a part of this night, to help raise money, provide support, and increase awareness for this charity, means an awful lot to us both.”

Helen added:

“It was purely by chance that Matt and I came across each other on social media. He asked if he could have a stand up slot and explained that he had also suffered the loss of his son. Matt and his partner Vicky have been so supportive, arranging some amazing raffle and auction prizes and saving the day with music for the whole evening. It never ceases to amaze me how generous people are and just shows what an amazing community we have here in Blackpool.”

The support Group is also looking for donations for their raffle and auction from local businesses to help them raise as much money as possible. All donations will be acknowledged on social media and on the evening.

For further details about this event or to donate a raffle or auction prize please contact Blackpool and Preston Sands on 07938 977676 or blackpoolprestonsands@yahoo.co.uk. Tickets are priced at £35.

More information about the support Blackpool and Preston Sands offer can be found here: https://blackpoolprestonsands.wordpress.com/

Event flyer. 


Notes to editors

Comedians Lewis Jones, Ryan Gleeson, Pete Phillipson, Steffen Peddie, Freddy Quinn, Tina Townsend and Matt Davenport will also be performing on the night.

Matt Davenport and Helen Grimshaw are available for interview.  

For more information, please contact the Sands press office on 0203 598 1959, e: media@uk-sands.org

About Sands

Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, was established by bereaved parents in 1978.

Sands supports anyone affected by the death of a baby; works in partnership with health professionals to improve the quality of care and services offered to bereaved families; and promotes and funds research and changes in practice that could help to reduce the loss of babies’ lives.

Sands is a national organisation, with around 100 regional support groups across the UK.  Further information can be found at www.uk-sands.org.