A SPECIAL cot to help bereaved mothers has been launched after a year-long fundraising mission.

Celebrity chef Lesley Waters was on hand as the new equipment was transferred to the maternity bereavement suite at Dorset County Hospital.

Student midwife Emma Knott has spent a year raising money for the kit.

She said: “It was fabulous to have Lesley there, because she has been instrumental in helping with fundraising, by offering the prize of a day’s course at her cookery school for the quiz night I held.

“I also invited all the people who helped with fundraising – the Dorchester Moose, the Lions Club, the League of Friends and Dorchester Goldmine – to say thank you and to allow them to have a look at the equipment.”

The cold cot is a refrigerated cot, which stillborn babies can be placed into to allow them to stay close to their mothers.

Miss Knott, a third year student, who lives in Dorchester, said: “It helps with the grieving process to spend time with their babies, because it’s the only time mums will ever get with them.

“They are able to be close to them, and take them out and have a cuddle.”

The equipment cost £3,600, which was raised by groups and individuals in the past year.

She added: “We are now ready to use the cold cot when we need it. Not every mum will want it, and it is something we know we need to handle very carefully.

“But this could have a major impact on how they get over the loss.

“One in 100 babies is born stillborn or only survives a short while after birth, but it is a major loss.

“The mum has felt her baby move inside her. Even if she can just hold her baby for a few moments it can help.”

With just under £700 remaining in the fundraising pot, Miss Knott is determined to go even further to help grieving parents.

Her colleague Jo Mockler has designed a book to keep memories and photographs in and the money left over will go towards helping to fund the production of these.

Miss Knott said: “This is an ongoing project, and we need to raise another £300 before we can go and get as many of these made as we can.”

She added: “It was really special to hold the launch event for the cold cot, and I would like to offer my thanks to everyone who helped raise money and gave me advice.”