LOSING a child is the most harrowing experience any parent can go through, and for those whose child dies shortly after birth the situation can be made even worse as they recover on a maternity ward full of mothers and their healthy newborns.

But thanks to a donation in the region of £100,000 from a prominent local couple, those at Salisbury District Hospital whose child dies shortly before or after birth will have a place where they can grieve in peace and say goodbye to their baby in private.

Sir Christopher and Lady Benson have given the money to the hospital’s Stars Appeal to enable the charity to provide a dedicated baby bereavement suite.

Senior midwife, Kim Melbourne, who is leading the project, said: “This hugely generous donation will enable us to provide a dedicated and compassionate area for women and their families away from the noise of a busy labour ward. The space will allow dignity and privacy for those in their time of need. We are hugely grateful to Sir Christopher and Lady Benson for their wonderful support”.

The new suite, which will be named The Benson Suite, will ensure the very short time these families are able to spend together is as precious, dignified and personal as possible.

It will also be available to families who have experienced the birth of a critically ill child or for fathers and babies when a mother is very unwell.

Sir Christopher said: “We are delighted to be funding this much needed facility that will help local families at this very difficult time. We hope that publicising this work will inspire others to donate to the Stars Appeal and by doing so support the hospital upon which we all depend.”

Building work to create the suite will start shortly, with the facilities due to open at the end of the year.