Father expresses heartfelt thanks to charity after death of baby son

David Taylor with his wife Mary and son Ethan.

David Taylor with his wife Mary and son Ethan, 12. - Credit: EACH

Heartfelt thanks have been expressed by a Wymondham father after East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) helped put his family back together after his son died at just a few weeks old.

David Taylor, 43, from Wymondham, said he will 'forever be thankful' to the charity for the support it offered him, his wife Mary and son Ethan following Jude's death in 2014.

Baby Jude, who was born at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, had hypoplastic left heart syndrome - a complex and rare defect which meant the left side of his heart was critically underdeveloped.

Jude Taylor died at just a few weeks old in 2014.

Jude Taylor died at just a few weeks old in 2014. - Credit: EACH

This condition had been detected during Mrs Taylor's pregnancy and Jude underwent surgery at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

Jude died in his mother's arms a few weeks after, on April 28. He would have celebrated his eight birthday this month.

Family picture of Jude Taylor.

Family picture of Jude Taylor.

Following his death, Mr Taylor has been helping give back to the charity which supported them through the family's bereavement and has since been volunteering for EACH.

He said he is proud to represent bereaved parents and hopes his involvement will send out a powerful message to others.

The Anglian Water technician said: “People don’t realise or appreciate just how much EACH supports people like ourselves.

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“I think of the bereavement team as the ‘secret service’, because to me they’re unsung heroes.

“As a family, they effectively put us back together after losing Jude. For that, I’ll always be thankful.

“I volunteer because I lost my son and I’m always very open about my reasons for being involved and supporting the charity.

“It’s because I have personal experience and know first hand what a massive difference EACH makes."

David Taylor dressed as a flamingo for the London Marathon.

David Taylor dressed as a flamingo for the London Marathon. - Credit: EACH

The 43-year-old and his family spent three weeks with Jude at Quidenham - EACH's former Norfolk hospice - before his funeral, which allowed them to "create memories and come to terms with their grief".

Mr Taylor said: “Mary and myself met an EACH counsellor before Jude was born and visited Quidenham with Ethan.

“I’ll never forget that first day.

“Ethan watched a film with a little boy there and we had fish and chips together.

“Then we spent three weeks at Quidenham after Jude died.

“It was our time to say goodbye and make memories.

“As well as spending time together, we made hand and foot casts and we have a canvas that proudly hangs on our wall at home.

“Since then we’ve had lots of counselling and attended monthly groups for bereaved parents, in addition to sibling events for Ethan."

Ethan Taylor at an EACH bubble rush event.

Ethan Taylor at an EACH bubble rush event. - Credit: EACH

Mr Taylor added that they have also been comforted by other families in a similar position and made many new friends at support groups.

“We had the common bond of losing a child but those sad circumstances brought us together," he added.

His passion for the cause has also seen him raise £28,500 for GOSH and EACH, and help out at events including the Norwich Bubble Rush.

Mr Taylor has run the London Marathon twice - the second time for EACH dressed as a flamingo in memory of Jude, who was receiving care on the flamingo ward at GOSH.

And he has also cycled through the night on the streets of London in 2015 alongside 22 friends to raise funds for a portable x-ray machine for GOSH.

David Taylor was joined by 22 friends for the night-time cycle through the streets of London in a bi

David Taylor was joined by 22 friends for the night-time cycle through the streets of London in a bid to raise £17,000 for a portable x-ray machine for Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in memory of his baby son Jude. - Credit: Archant

The Taylor family are also said to have been particularly supportive of EACH when it was raising money for the building of The Nook, which opened in Framingham Earl in 2019.

“It’s just the most amazing place and we were there when The Duchess of Cambridge officially opened it," the Anglian Water technician said.

“In fact, Ethan was one of the children picked to help her unveil the plaque."

The Duchess of Cambridge speaks with children at the Nook, the East Anglia's Children's Hospices' ne

The Duchess of Cambridge speaks with children at the Nook, the East Anglia's Children's Hospices' new hospice in Framingham Earl - Credit: PA

EACH is planning various fundraising events this summer including the Ride for Life cycle challenge, the Pier to Pier walk on June 25 and the Norwich Bubble Rush on July 16.

For more information about the events and volunteering visit www.each.org.uk/eventsvolunteer