Mum dedicates Christmas event to bereaved families in Leicester

By Sarah Danquah

A mother whose child died two days after being born is organising a Christmas fundraiser for the second year in a row to support other families who suffer baby loss.

Holly Stottor’s son Harrison was a premature baby and was born on 12th January 2019. Two days later he died of oxygen deficiency at Leicester Royal Infirmary just weighing 4lb 14oz. 

In December 2020, the 28-year-old decided to set up a charity called Harrison’s Hope, based in Thurmaston, to support Leicester Hospital’s Maternity and Neonatal Unit.

“The nurses took pictures of these moments I spent with Harrison, so that I could keep them safely in a box and show him off to the world when I was ready,” Holly said in an Interview with EverythingCommunity.org.

“I’m thankful for the nurses and doctors that gave me the chance to be a first time mum…these memories will always stay alive with me.

She also committed herself to supporting bereaved families who have suffered the loss of a baby and provides services in her local community and surroundings.

This winter, Harrison’s Hope is to host a Christmas Charity Fun Day on Saturday, December 11, from 11am to 5pm at Thurmaston Working Men’s Club, 805 Melton Road, Leicester LE4 8EE. 

The charity will help to raise money for Harrison’s Hope to create comfort boxes for bereaved families and Leicester’s hospital Neonatal unit quiet room.

Food and drinks will be served during the day while Santa and Elsa give away gifts to the children. There will be an opportunity to win prizes on a raffle stall.

For a second year running, Holly is also setting up a Christmas tree of angels in her front garden in Church Hill Road, Thurmaston. The tree will be part of a range of Christmas fundraising projects this year and is decorated with pink and blue baubles dedicated to babies who were stillborn or died young.

“It was my partner Ashley’s idea. We’ve got the glass baubles and the ones for girls will be filled with pink snow and the ones for boys with blue snow and each will have the baby’s name on it,” she told the Leicester Mercury last year.

Harrison’s Hope is still looking for donations towards its Christmas tree of angles and raffle stall. Donations can be made by visiting the Harrison’s Hope facebook page.

Further information about their ongoing Christmas fundraising projects can also be found on the page. 

Heard a whistle and a bang? Foreign student describes first experience of Guy Fawkes Night

In her final year before graduating, De Montfort University International Relations and Journalism student Morgana Ribeiro enjoyed a chance to experience the Bonfire Night and Firework display in Abbey Park, Leicester.  

Shortly after arriving in Leicester, I started exploring the green spaces around. It wasn’t long before I found Abbey Park and made it my go-to place. I have been to Abbey Park countless times since. 

But never had I imagined I would see it ‘catch fire’, so to speak. 

On Saturday (NOV 6) the biggest bonfire in Leicester was lit on one of Abbey Park’s beautiful lawns as a long firework display coloured the sky. It was Bonfire Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Night. 

Before the dreadful restrictions COVID called for, every November would be welcomed by fireworks and celebrations – a nice contrast with the almost somber end of October. First, Diwali and then Guy Fawkes Night.  

Very succinctly, Guy Fawkes Night is a commemoration of the failure of the ‘Gunpowder Plot’ in1605 – an attempted treason to the Protestant crown. Some say the fireworks launched on this day represent the explosives that were never used on that day in 1605. 

In 2020 the global pandemic did not allow the celebration to take place, but it sure made a thunderous return this year. 

Visions of the funfair. Photo by Hikari Funayama.

I had received tickets for the event, courtesy of the International Student Support team at DMU, and agreed to attend almost oblivious to what it was. My i-buddy and I had no idea what awaited us. As we walked in, we watched performers dancing with fire, which was beautiful, and then we started to explore the funfair. There you could find your typical funfair games and my i-buddy, having never had a go, was eager to try and knock down some cans. So, we did – or tried.  

As we walked back to the food stands, we saw it. We saw the fire burning. It was so bizarre. I mean, these were actual flames burning high and, mind you, surrounded by trees. But it was hypnotising. After getting a bag of chestnuts and a gigantic hot dog for my i-buddy we took a seat under a tree close to the fire. “It might keep us a little warmer,” we thought. 

Then, cued by the hosts, everyone started a countdown excited. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when we’d get to zero.  

All the lights went out and the firework display started. It lasted for about 20 minutes, and it was brilliant. Being under the fireworks is a whole other experience.  

By the end, it felt like the whole sky was sparkling in gold, red and green, which nearly made me sleigh right into the Christmas spirit. 

We made our way out in the end as the lights went back on. The smell of fire and smoke from the beautifully loud show was now all that was left. It was a great experience overall and it allowed me to get to know the city a little better, which, really, is what this is all about. 

A sneak peak of the firework display. Video taken by Hikari Funayama.