My name is Maggie Berrow and I’m Chair of Northamptonshire Sands. I got involved with Sands around 11 years ago when I retired as a Bereavement Midwife after many years. I wanted to improve facilities in our local hospital and train professionals in good bereavement care. In Northamptonshire, we have large monthly groups with an average of 20 people, an eight weekly Fathers only group with around six to 11 men, and a next pregnancy group.
My motivation is seeing very distraught, traumatised parents very gradually make progress in their grief journey through the support we can give. I’m proud of so many achievements, for example bereavement suites in two hospitals, with gardens, a fathers only group and their Sands football club.
Viv Jameson is our Treasurer who I've known for 26 years since she lost her baby boy; I was her midwife and have learnt through her journey what is good and not so good bereavement practise. I could not do my job without her, she’s amazing.
Rose Abrehart, East Network Coordinator, said: “Maggie and Viv have both been involved with Sands for nearly 20 years and are very much a ‘double act’. Maggie is an ex-midwife and is now in her early 70s although that is irrelevant as it does not diminish her humour, zest for life and huge energy, especially with Sands. Despite recent personal set backs, she continues to be one of the mainstays of the Group. She is bionic in every sense of the word. In the years they have run Northamptonshire Sands the Group has got bigger and bigger, providing support to hundreds of parents. They have helped provide bereavement suites at Northampton Hospital and Kettering Hospital (Snowdrop Rooms), they have provided memorial gardens at both sites, and a memorial garden in Northampton.
They hold regular monthly meetings, support a Next Pregnancy Group, have a Dads’ Group, plus a dedicated football team for dads. They hold an Annual Memorial Service attracting several hundred people and Family Days. They support the local hospitals providing training seminars, which always receives incredible feedback from the attendees.
Her dedication and commitment has been an inspiration and in recent years she has been able to mentor and support other members to train as Befrienders to take over from her and Viv as they say they need to hand over the reins at some time! Northamptonshire Sands is a massive group, with lots of activities, events, support to local hospitals and is a HUGE testament to the dedication and commitment these two amazing ladies have given to Sands over many years.”
Maggie has been nominated as part of 40 volunteers for #Sands40. Join them at Sands 40th Anniversary Conference on 17th November 2018 in Glasgow.
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.