Leader comment: Some good comes from tragedy

Catherine Smith with her daughter Ella McConnachie, the grandchild of Labour leader John Smith, who was saved by research at the Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory, established by charity  Theirworld set up by Sarah Brown and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown in memory of their daughter Jennifer who died at 10 days old. Picture: Phoebe Grigor/PA Wire

Catherine Smith with her daughter Ella McConnachie, the grandchild of Labour leader John Smith, who was saved by research at the Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory, established by charity Theirworld set up by Sarah Brown and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown in memory of their daughter Jennifer who died at 10 days old. Picture: Phoebe Grigor/PA Wire

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There can be few who have forgotten a beaming Gordon Brown, then the Labour Chancellor, telling the world of his joy at the birth of his baby daughter Jennifer in December 2001.

Then tragedy hit and Mr Brown and his wife Sarah had to contend with the death of their premature baby girl, aged just ten days.

Losing one’s child is something every parent fears and dreads, and which sadly, sometimes cannot be prevented.

But yesterday, almost 15 years after Jennifer’s death, the Browns made a special visit to the world-renowned Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory in Edinburgh, where instead of sadness there were tales of joy at the premature babies who had been given the chance of life due to the ground-breaking work carried out by the laboratory’s scientists.

Thanks to their work, including examining how much oxygen should be given to babies in incubators, an increasing number of premature babies, these tiny scraps of humanity, are not just being kept alive, they are also being given the chance of a better quality of life.

All of this is a testament to the courage displayed by the Browns who channelled their grief to help others and their dedication in supporting the work the laboratory does and their ceaseless fundraising to enable the work to continue.

By ensuring the research is undertaken they have made sure some good has come from the loss of Jennifer.

Premature birth is a major problem all over the world, but as Catherine Smith spoke of the care received by her daughter Ella, the Browns can be assured their daughter has left the legacy of life for other babies.

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