Lee Pemberton, from Cofton Hackett, has been named as this week’s charity champion after cycling 100 miles and raising over £2,500 for Birmingham Women’s Hospital Charity.

Lee got on his bike, along with two of his friends and his father-in-law, John Cornish, to take part in this year’s Velo Birmingham & Midlands, to raise money for the charity’s Woodland House Appeal.

Birmingham Women’s Hospital Charity is raising £3.5million to bring Woodland House – a brand-new, purpose-built bereavement centre – to the hospital, where heartbreaking pregnancy and baby loss conversations can take place. Space within the hospital is limited and as such conversations currently take place in rooms and locations that don’t reflect the significance of a family’s loss. The appeal will see Birmingham Women’s Hospital set the standard for pregnancy and loss care, nationally.

It’s a cause that is close to Lee’s heart after his daughter Rosie was sadly stillborn at Birmingham Women’s Hospital in July 2017. Lee and his wife, Jennifer, know first-hand how much Woodland House will mean to bereaved families, and the need for a safe, non-clinical, home-from-home environment away from the main hospital that recognises and honours loss. 

Lee said: “Rosie was stillborn at 32 weeks and we were devastated. We stayed at the hospital in its current bereavement suite for a week and spent that precious time with our baby girl. But as the suite is next to the maternity ward, Jennifer was too scared to leave it for fear of running into other families who had had their happy ending. Just to have that safe space that Woodland House will create will make such a difference to families who have endure what we did. It will just be invaluable in helping with the grieving process.

“Taking part in the Velo ride was such a fun challenge and I was thrilled to have smashed my original fundraising goal of £500. Birmingham Women’s Hospital has given us so much support and continues to do so.  Knowing that the money I raised will help support so many parents in the future just made the whole experience even better.”

Serena Daw, Public Fundraising Manager at Birmingham Women’s Hospital Charity, said: “It’s so humbling to hear how Lee and Jennifer’s experience at our hospital inspired and motivated Lee to take on such an impressive challenge as Velo Birmingham & Midlands.

“Every year, over 2,000 women and families are given heartbreaking and life-changing news at our hospital, and we know from our mums that they often have the feeling of being trapped with nowhere to go after they’ve given birth. We need to raise £3.5 million to make Woodland House a reality, and create a space for our bereaved families to spend time together away from the hustle and bustle of the main hospital, before they feel ready to face the world again. The incredible amount Lee has raised for the appeal brings us a step closer to this target.”

Find out more information, or to donate to the Woodland House Appeal. Alternatively, text WOODLAND to 70970 to donate £5.