Their second child Jade Peacock was just nine days old when she came to Demelza’s hospice in Eltham, South East London, for end of life care in January.
It was the first time the couple, who were both COVID-19 positive at the time, could be together with their baby and four-year-old son Elijah since Jade was born.
Claire said: “Jade wasn’t breathing and her heart wasn’t beating when she was born which meant that her brain was without oxygen for a prolonged period of time. The care she received in hospital was phenomenal but COVID-19 restrictions meant that none of our family could meet Jade – not even her big brother. Going to Demelza meant our family could be together whilst being supported by their caring staff.”
Demelza Nurses made it possible for extended relatives to visit and make memories with their ‘Little Peacock’ – a name lovingly given to Jade by her big brother. Jade’s nan read her a book that had been gifted to her by her grandmother and her uncle played ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ on his ukulele.
“Despite the circumstances, we had the most precious time together as a family”, added Claire. “The Demelza team did everything they could to help facilitate those special moments with our daughter and enabled us as a family to be able to grieve. When they removed Jade’s life support, we heard her breathe without machines for the first time. It was the most beautiful sound in the world. The Nurses passed Jade to us and we were able to hold our tiny baby girl, free of wires and tubes. We were free of our face masks to be able to give her a kiss. We spent 18 perfect hours together as a family of four.”
Jade died the following morning in her daddy’s arms, with her mummy and big brother by her side. In the days that followed Wayne and Claire and their extended family were able to spend time with Jade in one of Demelza’s special bereavement suites, known as the Butterfly Suite.
For Wayne, running has been a way of channelling his grief, and he will be running four marathons in three weeks, taking part in the Brighton, Goodwood and London Marathons this autumn on consecutive weekends.
Lottie McElhinney, Care Team Leader at Demelza’s South East London hospice, said: “It was a privilege and an honour to be able to care for baby Jade at the end of her life and support her loved ones through such a difficult time. By coming to Demelza, Jade’s family were able to be together with her for the first time and make precious memories.
“No parent should ever have to go through what Wayne and Claire did, but their incredible fundraising efforts will ensure Demelza can be there for other local families in the future. We are so grateful to The Flying Peacocks and wish them lots of luck in their four marathon challenge in memory of Jade.”
Today, Wayne will be running ‘The Little Peacock Marathon’ – a 26.2 mile route that will take him on Jade’s journey – passing Lewisham Hospital, Evelina London Children’s Hospital and Demelza’s hospice in Eltham.
Wayne said: “We now want to pay it forward so that if anyone ever finds themselves facing their darkest hour, they are met with the same love, care and compassion that insulated our family.
“Before all of this happened, we didn’t know about Demelza or that it existed. Kindness sits quietly behind all things. Demelza is the epitome of that - it’s location at the end of a quiet, unassuming South East London cul-de-sac - where kindness is found.”
To sponsor Wayne and Claire, please visit their fundraising page below.