Hospital charity receives huge £25,000 donation for baby loss campaign

A mental health nurse, who founded the bereavement charity Ernie’s Wish, has donated an incredible £25,577.79 to Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) Charity.

Carla Spence, whose second baby, Ernie, was stillborn at 39 weeks in 2016, founded Ernie’s Wish to fundraise, improve bereavement services and give back to the charities who had supported them through their own loss.

The funds raised will go directly to the Serenity Appeal, a charity campaign to raise funds for a specialist bereavement suite called ‘The Serenity Suite’ at Doncaster Royal Infirmary, as well as a mobile ultrasound scanner.

Left to right: Shelley Bacon, Carla Spence, Natalie Harwood & Claire Brown completing the Yorkshire Three Peaks fundraising challenge.

Speaking of her loss, Carla said: “Our world was obviously shattered.

“We found the support shocking to say the least.”

Currently, people who suffer baby loss at Doncaster Royal Infirmary (DRI) give birth to their sleeping babies on a busy labour ward where they can hear other families celebrating and the cries of infants being born.

 Introducing the Serenity Suite (plans for which are pictured below) would create a space for families to spend time together in a safe, secure, and serene space where they can grieve the loss of their baby with the support of specialist Bereavement Midwives.

Artist mock-up of the Serenity Suite

The mobile ultrasound scanner (pictured below) would enable similar treatment, meaning those suffering a miscarriage could remain in the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit (EPAU) for an ultrasound diagnosis, instead of moving to the busy scan department and sitting amongst those awaiting standard scans.

An example of a mobile ultrasound scanner

 However, it isn’t just parents who suffer during this time, it is also children, Carla explained.

 “Naturally we wanted to help siblings.

 “As parents, we found it so difficult to help our daughter deal with her grief and explain something which there is no explanation for.”

 To this end, Ernie’s Wish creates sibling packs, individual to the child based on their age, ability to understand what is happening to them and circumstances.

 The packs also contain useful tools to support parents/teachers/carers to support the child during the grieving process.

Edith (Ernie’s big sister) with a child bereavement pack

After hearing of the Serenity Appeal and speaking with one of the Bereavement Midwives, Carla, alongside her committee of ‘Ernie’s Angels’, decided this was the perfect initiative to donate the funds to.

She said: “We’ve always said we wanted to do something significant with the money.

“It is so important to me that it goes to the right place.

“I had a call with Matt Procter, the Bereavement Midwife and I knew right then this was going to make a difference.”

The mum-of-four hosted a Bonfire Night event on Friday 4 November to raise further funds for the appeal, taking the total raised from £20,000 to £25,577.79.

Carla Spence (left) at the bonfire night event displaying the total raised from ticket sales

Sister and best friends Amy, Natalie, Shelley and Claire, alongside Mum Tracey and the staff at Manton Sports have all provided huge support over the years, said Carla.

She went on: “They have been there every step of the way.

“Lastly, I want to mention our community. We are so thankful for the ongoing support and more importantly, remembering Ernie.”

To make a donation, set up a fundraiser or join in on one of our fundraising events for the Serenity Appeal, please visit the charity website at this address:

For resources and support on baby loss, please visit the charity page above.