New and expectant mums from the Royal Navy Bumps and Babies group in Portsmouth Naval Base have been pounding the streets in memory of a very special little girl.
More than 30 servicewomen pulled together in support of fellow Bumps and Babies member Chief Petty Officer Naval Nurse Robyn Bennett who set up the charity ‘Sydney’s Fighting Journey’ with her husband Darrell in honour of their daughter Sydney.
Sydney was diagnosed with Group B Streptococcal Meningitis in April this year and lost her life at just 22 days old. She was cared for at Southampton Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and the eight-mile walk raised funds towards a specialist scanner for the unit costing £25,000.
As well as raising money Robyn and husband Darrell are raising awareness of Group B Streptococcus (GBS) and to get screening for pregnant women on the NHS in the hope that other children and parents never have to go through the same ordeal.
CPONN Bennett has found great support from the staff and friends she has made though the Bumps and Babies group and other service women benefiting from the scheme have also hailed it a great success.
The maternity support group was set up by the Royal Navy in Portsmouth to provide structured support for service women during pregnancy, maternity leave and on return to work. The team provides mentoring and coaching and brings new and expectant mums together for mutual support as well as running specialist fitness classes and a ‘buddy scheme’ pairing new mums with those who have already returned to work so they can share their experiences.
CPONN Bennett said: “The past year has been a roller coaster of emotions. With the nerves of pregnancy, the excitement and joy of parenthood once our daughter Sydney was born and the grief and devastation of losing our Sydney. Throughout all, the staff at HMS Nelson Maternity Cell have been involved and supportive. I asked them to tell our story to the ladies at Bumps and Babies to raise awareness of Group B Strep as the NHS doesn't screen or inform. Today is evidence that the Bumps and Babies care and support one another both emotionally and physically. My husband and I really appreciate all their support. “
The scheme is being trialled in Portsmouth but there is an aspiration to extend it to other naval bases and air stations.
Make a donation online at www.justgiving.com/Sydney-Bennett
For information on the Group B Streptococcal infection see the website www.gbss.org.uk.
Pictures: Crown Copyright 2014 / Royal Navy