A couple who set up a charity after suffering the heartbreak of a stillbirth have been named as the beneficiaries of a major Christmas Carol service.
Paul and Jenny Mills set-up The Sophie-Catherine Mills charity to honour their daughter and help families caught in equally tragic circumstances.
Sophie-Catherine was stillborn eight years ago and to help with the fundraising effort this year’s University of Dundee, Candlelit Carol Service, will donate proceeds to the charity.
The service which is one of the institution’s biggest annual events, takes place in the city’s St Paul’s Cathedral at 5pm on Sunday 15th December.
Mr Mills, 35, said: “Nothing prepares you for going into hospital and not leaving with your baby.
“Christmas is a particularly hard time for us.
“It is marketed as a time for families but Jenny and I can only imagine what it would be like to have Sophie with us.
“We visit her grave and buy and wrap her presents on special occasions like Christmas, her birthday or Easter. We always take gifts – flowers, ornaments, balloons – that we bring home so a part of her always remains with Jenny and me. We have even created a memorial garden.
“She is a part of our lives every day. Sophie should be with us, but sadly she can’t be.”
Paul and Jenny founded SCM - a name created from Sophie’s initials - after learning that there was no charity in Scotland assisting families of stillborn babies with meeting the expense of headstones and tributes.
Since its inception, the charity has been able to help parents throughout Tayside purchase memorials for babies who have died between 24 weeks of pregnancy and 28 days after birth.
“It is an incredibly difficult time and all of a sudden there is an added financial pressure,” Paul continued.
“Memorials can cost hundreds of pounds and not everybody is fortunate to have that sort of money. The funds we raise can at least help parents to pay tribute to their children in a fitting manner.”
Since launching the charity, Paul and Jenny have pushed themselves to their limits to honour their daughter, competing in endurance events, walking across fire pits, and even scaling
Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for their cause.
Having helped families throughout Tayside, Paul and Jenny, who both work in a Perthshire residential school, now wish to expand SCM’s work to help people across Scotland.
“The donations that people make at the Candlelit Carol Service will help to make a massive difference to those who need us,” added Paul.
“Every penny goes back into the charity and we can also claim Gift Aid, which means we receive an extra 25p for every pound we receive."