WIRRAL Sands has helped dozens of women and their partners from across the borough but those who have turned to the charity wish they had never heard of it.

That is because Sands is a stillbirth and neonatal death charity and the place Wirral women turn to in their darkest hour.

The Wirral-based group consists of parents from all walks of life who all share one terrible thing – they have all suffered the loss of a baby before, during or soon after birth.

One of those who has relied on the support Sands offers is Birkenhead mum Elaine Greenall.

The 36-year-old was first made aware of the charity and the support group - which meets at the Postgraduate Centre at Clatterbridge Hospital on the first Wednesday of the month - following the death of her daughter Madison in November.

Elaine, who is also mother to 16-year-old Jess and three-year-old Jayden, said: “I was passed their details by the midwife who had delivered Madison at Arrowe Park Hospital – it was discovered that she had died a couple of days before her 36th week due to a condition called Intrauterine Growth Restriction.

“As part of the wider Sands group, the Wirral branch have all been through similar experiences, problems and emotions.

“They are there to support families who are faced with this devastating loss, and do so in a friendly, supportive face-to-face environment, forming lifelong friendships and offering emotional and practical support whenever, wherever.”

In addition to the running costs, the Wirral group has also been responsible for providing benches and memorials for the baby garden at Landican cemetery and for supporting remembrance services across the borough.

As part of the national Sands group, they also fund research into the cause and prevention of stillbirths and neonatal deaths to reduce the loss of babies’ lives and help to improve bereavement services when they are required.

To raise much-needed funds, Wirral Sands is holding a raffle at Hoylake RNLI Lifeboat Day – which takes place on August 25 – to help support the work of the group.

Signed Everton shirts, Liverpool Football Club museum tour’s, shopping vouchers, teddy bears and days out are all up for grabs.

Every £1 donated will buy one entry to the raffle.

If you would like to donate a prize or buy a raffle ticket, email wirralsandsraffle@yahoo.co.uk or visit justgiving.com/wirral-sands