Tyrone family steps out for SANDS charity group

There’s no right way to feel or grieve after the death of a baby, but many parents find that formally acknowledging their baby’s death can help with the healing.

Coagh woman Angela Whyte lost her son 16 years ago and last month she put her best foot forward to raise vital funds for SANDs (Stillbirth & Neonatal Death Charity) in memory of her son Jack who was stillborn, raising £2,570.

Angela said: “Even though Jack passed away 16 years ago I wasn’t quite sure where to turn for help. I heard about SANDs, and I went along to my first meeting a few months ago.

“I thought I could struggle on, pretending it didn’t happen. I needed some form of acceptance that my son had passed away, and I rang the SANDs helpline.

Angela Whyte pictured with her sons Joshua and Jay as they completed a hike over Slieve Gallion in the Sperrins as part of their 310,000 steps for SANDs.

“I spoke to someone who had experienced similar circumstances to me, they were very professional and made me feel I was not alone. I was signposted to the Cookstown SANDs Group.

“Being a bereaved parent is a very lonely place, but it doesn’t have to be, I really wish I had joined SANDs sooner.

“If you are struggling or just want someone to talk to, use the support helpline or join the Cookstown support group.

“The meetings are very relaxed, and everyone has suffered bereavement. They offer the chance to have a cuppa and a chat with other bereaved parents.”

During October Angela completed 310,000 steps with her 10-year-old son Jay, raising £2,570 for SANDs. The Coagh community rallied around Angela to support her. Coagh Angling Club held a fishing competition raising £557.91, and Coagh Primary School raised a further £210 through a non-uniform day.

Cookstown SANDs group meet on the third Monday of each month in Beacon House, Molesworth Street, Cookstown at 7.30pm.

The charity offers a befriending service, memorial services, liaisons with local health professionals.

For further advice the group can be found on Facebook, www.sandsni.org Further information is also available on 07740 993 450.


Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

Please consider purchasing a copy of the paper. You can also support trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription of the News Letter.