A COUPLE whose baby died at just three days old are raising thousands of pounds for a children's hospice which supported them through the tragedy.

Vicky and Alex Cornwell, of Scarcroft Road, York, lost their daughter Matilda four months ago after a difficult and complicated birth.

Vicky said Martin House Hospice allowed them to be with her during her last precious hours of life, without having to worry about anything else.

"The wonderful people working there had created a warm, family environment where they were able to not only care for Matilda’s medical needs unobtrusively, but also care for our needs as well as family and friends," she said.

“They helped us create memories, allowing us to spend time with her, taking photos and making artwork from footprints and finger prints - things we didn't know we wanted but now treasure more than anything in the world."

She said that after Matilda passed away, she and Alex stayed at the Boston Spa hospice for a couple of days until they felt ready to go home, and staff dealt with some of the uncomfortable practicalities, such as registering the birth and death and organising midwife check-ups for Vicky and funeral arrangements. "We don't know how we'd have done this without them."

She said the hospice still called to check how they were doing and make sure they were coping. "They don’t pester, they don’t patronise, they just do their best to interpret your needs and to use their experience and hindsight to steer you in the right direction. It's an amazing place – warm, happy and positive, even though the reason it is needed is so so sad.

"I now want to do everything I can to thank them and help them continue to provide this amazing support to other families in a similar position to ourselves."

The couple have already raised almost £15,000 and now Carole Carter, director of York business CityLets and a friend of the family, is giving them another boost by organising a 20-mile bike ride along the cycle track from York to Riccall this evening.

More than twenty employees, friends and their families are set to take part in the ride, which will follow a French-themed day at CityLets aimed at getting them in the spirit of last weekend’s Tour de France in York.

Carole said: "I am excited to be supporting such a great cause and will be offering a range of French delights including tarts and a few other ‘bits on the side."

Anyone wanting to sponsor the riders should go to https://www.justgiving.com/teams/cityletsyork.