A CAMPAIGN to create a maternity bereavement suite in York is closing in on its £250,000 target.

The Butterfly Appeal aims to create a spacious, comfortable and safe setting for parents at York Hospital to spend time and say their final goodbyes in peace after losing a baby.

The appeal has officially reached £241,665 after winning widespread support, including a £94,672 donation from the York SANDS group.

York hospital employee Heather Agar is among the latest supporters to play their part, and has smashed her own personal target of raising £500 through a raffle, which is to be drawn on December 16.

Heather said she wanted to help create a quiet, peaceful place for families.

"I lost my baby 12 years ago but it is still raw," she said.

Heather lost her son when she was 18 weeks pregnant and delivered him on the maternity ward at Scarborough Hospital.

“I could hear babies being born. That’s what haunts me,” she said.

Heather who work on the hospital switchboard added: “It’s important parents have somewhere to grieve in peace and say goodbye and have as much time as they need.”

Her raffle has raised more than £500, thanks to the generosity of others, including a £100 anonymous donation.

“I don’t know who it is to thank them. They just wanted to give. I was really touched,” she said.

Support has also come from small businesses and entrepreneurs following an appeal on the Support Local Businesses Facebook page.

Lucy Clegg, who is the fundraising manager for York Teaching Hospital Charity, said: “It’s been a difficult time for charities and we are very grateful to Heather for bringing us another step closer to reaching our target.

"We have had amazing support for the Butterfly Appeal.

“Every week at York Hospital a family will learn that their baby is unlikely to survive birth.

"We know there is nothing that can take away the pain for these families following a late pregnancy loss, stillbirth or death of their baby soon after birth, but we also know how precious those few hours or days can be before they have to say their final goodbyes.

“It will be a safe space where we can give them quality time to start to make memories and say goodbye to their baby to begin their journey of grief.”

Heather is still selling squares on 100-square raffle sheets for £1.

There are 10 prizes per sheet, including hampers, vouchers and mystery gifts.

The raffle will be drawn on December 16.

To donate a prize, or support the cause, contact Heather via Facebook or on 07584121009.