Lancaster man's marathon effort in memory of beloved baby daughter

A Galgate man is lacing his trainers and running the London Landmarks Half Marathon this weekend in memory of his precious baby girl, Florence.

Friday, 30th July 2021, 12:30 pm

Dan Patterson (31) will be pounding the streets of the capital on Sunday to raise money for two worthwhile baby charities - Teddy's Wish and Tommys - who helped him and his wife, Laura, grieve when Florence was stillborn at 41 weeks in November last year.

The couple, who moved to Galgate in September last year, were over the moon when they became pregnant in March 2020 - right at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, due to the restrictions, Dan was not permitted into the hospital to be with Laura during the 12-week or 20-week scan, but was told that they were going to have a little girl who they named Florence Willow Patterson.

Laura had a simple low-risk pregnancy and went into labour in the early morning of November 12th. All went well until 2-15pm that afternoon at Royal Lancaster Infirmary, when their midwife found that she couldn't locate Florence's heartbeat and sadly was stillborn. The couple suffered the heartbreak of losing their precious baby girl.

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Dan and Laura Patterson with their pet dog, Belle

Understandably, both Dan and Laura were devastated and after a few months, they began counselling through Teddy's Wish, who made them much stronger. Earlier this year, Laura became pregnant again. Since they found out, the care the couple have received has been amazing. Laura is being scanned every two weeks and the couple have also been going to the Tommy’s Clinic at St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester and are under the care of Professor Alex Heazell, which they are very grateful for. This time Dan has been allowed into scans and appointments.

The LLHM 2021 event will celebrate the grand, quirky and hidden landmark moments of 2020 and 2021. While participants run past some of London’s most spectacular landmarks, organisers will be shining a light on how everyone is coming together as a nation during the Covid-19 pandemic. The race starts by The Strand, finishes by Downing Street and has fabulous views of London’s most iconic landmarks including Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral, Nelson’s Column, the Gherkin, the Shard, the Tower of London and the London Eye.

Dan, who has never run long distances before, says he is looking forward to the 13.1-mile race on Sunday. He commented: "I've never done anything at all like this before, which has helped encourage me to complete the London Landmarks Half Marathon.

"I try and get out on a few runs a week, but it is hard as I have a very physically demanding job being a manager at Aldi supermarket. I usually like to set out with no distance target then run until I feel I need to stop. This results in a phone call to Laura to come and pick me up from wherever I am!"

Laura and Dan Patterson with baby Florence

He added: "We are aiming to raise £2,000 for Tommy’s. Teddy's Wish and Tommy's have helped us enormously to get a better understanding of our feelings and to realise that grieving is a journey and there is no right or wrong way to do it. We have realised that talking and being patient with each other is key as not every day is the same.

"Having a stillborn at 41 weeks was something that never crossed our minds so we think raising more awareness around this topic is very important and hope in the future women are recommended not to go past their due date due to the increased complications which can arise from this.

"We would like to thank Tommy’s and Teddy’s Wish for the support we have received and will continue to receive as we go to St Mary’s Hospital for Laura’s current pregnancy care."

Dan went on to say: "Florence will always be our first born child and will soon be a big sister. Florence will always be in our hearts and will always be the perfect baby. We hope to continue to raise as much money as we can for both these charities in the years to come and keep Florence’s name alive."

Tommy's are the UK's leading pregnancy charity and exists to support every baby, while Teddy's Wish provide care and support for families grieving the loss of a baby and fund vital research into the causes of SIDS, stillbirth and neonatal death.

Anyone wishing to donate and support Dan and Laura's fundraising is asked to CLICK HERE