Couple say support at the Benson Suite ‘meant the world’ to them after the loss of their babies

A couple who sadly lost their baby son and daughter say having the support of the Stars Appeal’s Benson Suite during this difficult time ‘meant the world to them’.

Neal Riley and his wife Els lost their son Oscar in January 2023. The couple’s “world fell apart again” in November of that year when they lost their daughter Sophie.

The Benson Suite within the Maternity Department at Salisbury District Hospital provides a dedicated, private space where families who sadly experience the death of a baby at birth can be cared for with their baby, away from the Labour Ward. The specialist suite helps ensure the time these families are able to spend with their baby is as precious, dignified and personal as possible.

Neal and Els say: “2023 was unimaginable, totally devastating, and life-changing for all the wrong reasons.

“The Benson Suite provided a space where we could process the tragedy and come to terms with losing Oscar and Sophie. The staff were incredible, supporting us throughout and making us feel at ease.”

The Stars Appeal Bereavement Midwife, whose work is funded entirely by donations to the charity, helped the Riley’s during and after the loss of their babies.

“Without this help, life would have been even more difficult, but to have someone who phoned us once a week, asked how we were getting on, and signposting us to other support groups was fantastic.

“The Benson Suite is so important. It provides a space away from the Maternity Ward where you can spend time with your baby. You aren’t rushed and can have all the time you need.  Although it is a hospital setting, the Benson Suite doesn’t feel clinical in the slightest. It meant the world to us both to have this support available.”

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