Grateful mum’s cash windfall for SANDS

Cheque presentation to SANDS.
Cheque presentation to SANDS.
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A St Andrews woman has provided a financial boost to a Fife charity, which is close to her heart.

It was 44 years ago that Mrs Margaret Litster’s third child, Garry, was stillborn at the former Craigtoun Maternity Hospital, on the outskirts of the university town.

Eventually recovering from serious illness herself, Mrs Litster returned home alone from hospital.

Her husband, Alec, was thousands of miles away in the West Indies with the Royal Navy and unable to help her cope with the traumatic experience.

Until 2005, neither she nor Alec had any idea as to what had happened to their son. It was only then that the retired home carer’s experience brought her together with other mothers in the same situation.

Answering an appeal in the Citizen, she met with other women whose babies had also been tragically stillborn or had died shortly after birth.

SUPPORT

Now a pensioner, Mrs Litster told the Citizen: ”Thanks to the help of the Fife Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity, who offer support to anyone affected by the death of a baby, the mothers were at last able to locate the final resting place of their children.”

Within 18 months the group was able to raise enough money to create the Snowdrop Baby Memorial Garden and erect a memorial stone at the Western Cemetery, on the edges of the St Andrews, where parents, relatives and friends could at last acknowledge the memories of their loved ones in a tranquil setting.

GARDEN

“The gardens were officially opened in the spring of 2007, at long last giving parents the opportunity to be able to say goodbye to their babies,” she added.

Following the media response to the launch of the garden, Mrs Litster was some time later approached by the editor of a popular weekly magazine who asked if she would be willing to tell her heartbreaking story.

Mrs Litster (69) agreed and the article was finally published several months ago.

During a special presentation ceremony held in the Rufflets Country House Hotel, on the outskirts of St Andrews, she handed over a cheque for £400 - the payment she received from the magazine for her story.

She said: ”I believe that if was not for SANDS, we would never have known what happened to Garry.

‘‘I was delighted to donate my fee to the charity to allow it to continue to provide the support to bereaved parents that we were never offered.”