Cambridgeshire

Baby loss couple praise 'crucial' Cambridge Petals charity work

Libbi and Matthew Johnson Image copyright Johnson Family
Image caption Libbi and Matthew Johnson lost one of their twins at birth

A couple whose baby was stillborn say they might not have survived without the support of a charity which is experiencing a funding crisis.

Libbi and Matthew Johnson's son Benedict died in 2017 but his twin sister Imogen survived.

They said the help they received from Petals, at Rosie Maternity Hospital in Cambridge, had been "crucial" to their recovery.

The baby loss charity has suspended all new, non-emergency referrals.

Image copyright Johnson Family
Image caption They said the counselling they received through Petals allowed them to "properly grieve"

The couple were offered counselling soon after their loss with Karen Burgess, the chief executive of Petals.

Mrs Johnson described it as "so incredibly crucial" and said it allowed her and her husband to "properly grieve".

"The question is whether we'd still be potentially even together...or alive [without it]," she added.

"Without Karen I don't know if I would have come out the other side."

Mr Johnson said: "What Petals provided for us was the silence that we could fill with what we were going through - it was a compassionate, understanding silence."

Image caption Rosie Maternity Hospital is part of the Addenbrooke's Hospital complex in Cambridge

Now aged two, their daughter Imogen still needs a feeding tube but Mrs Johnson said she was "full of life and vigour".

Petals, which relies on grants and donations, announced on Wednesday it was suspending its core service in Cambridge after six years due to a lack of funding.

Although NHS cash has been found for its services elsewhere, none has been made available in Cambridge.

The county's Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: "The CCG doesn't currently fund Petals and sadly it's not in the position to fund any new or additional services due to our financial situation."

A petition calling on the CCG to provide the £70,000 the charity needs each year was signed by more than 4,000 people in its first 24 hours.

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