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Cot death sorrow for Lowestoft family

PUBLISHED: 09:45 08 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:24 06 July 2010

A LOWESTOFT family whose lives were shattered when their baby daughter died, aged just three months, are uniting to help raise money for those who helped them through their darkest hour.

A LOWESTOFT family whose lives were shattered when their baby daughter died, aged just three months, are uniting to help raise money for those who helped them through their darkest hour.

Nick and Tracy Burnell spoke this week of how they have had to leave their family home in Oulton Broad as they try to come to terms with the death of their young daughter. But even on the day that they had to give their approval for doctors to switch off the machines keeping Honeyrose alive, they knew they wanted to do something to help the James Paget University Hospital's intensive care baby unit.

On Thursday, March 5, tragedy struck for the couple as Nick put his eldest daughter Sophie-Leah, aged 20 months, to bed.

“Tracy had gone out and Honey was awake and all bubbly, but she wouldn't take her bottle so I laid her in her play ring. To this day I can't understand what went wrong,” said Mr Burnell.

“When I checked on her I found she wasn't breathing. I'd only performed resuscitation on a dummy during army first aid training, so after I called an ambulance the lady walked me through what to do so that I got her heart beating again before she got to hospital.”

When they arrived at the Gorleston hospital, Honeyrose was still breathing but was pronounced brain dead.

“By Friday morning at 10am we had to decide whether to turn the machines off. After a number of tests everything was turned off at 2.30pm,” said the grieving 26-year-old.

The couple have been told that there was nothing they could have done to save Honeyrose and with no abnormalities found it has been recorded as an unexplained cot death.

“If the hospital didn't have a machine spare we wouldn't have had any time with her at all. So the day she died, I asked my father to do a charity event to try to raise money for them to get another machine and help the mortuary side too,” said Mr Burnell, a former chef in the Army.

Since that day, the couple have moved in with Tracy's parents Terry and Hazel Down, in Tedder Road, Lowestoft, as they struggled to return to their family home.

“I couldn't sleep there or even enter the house. I went back to move out, but it took two weeks physically before I could enter it,” Mr Burnell said.

His 21-year-old wife added: “It's devastating. Every time I think about it, it is so hard. We didn't want Sophie to go back to the house and we are trying not to show too much emotion, but she's suffering.”

However, during this time of heartbreak for the Burnell family there has been a ray of light, as just two weeks ago Tracy found out that she is pregnant.

“It seems to date back to two days before Honey passed away, and there's a chance the new baby may land on Honey's birthday - December 2,” said Mr Burnell.

Mr Burnell's, father Martin, of Selby Street, is organising a charity line dancing event at Lowestoft Town Football Club on Friday, May 29, with entrance costing £3 per person.

Any businesses that would like to donate a raffle prize should call 07912 039986.

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