THE memory of their stillborn daughter has inspired a young couple to embark upon a fundraising challenge.

After two failed rounds of IVF, Rebecca and Luke Blaser were thrilled to find out they were expecting a child naturally.

Ten weeks into the pregnancy, the couple were told that their baby would not survive, with medics in Cyprus – where Mr Blaser serves with the RAF – advising a termination.

Mr and Mrs Blaser flew back to the UK and Poppy Hella was stillborn at Darlington Memorial Hospital at 22 weeks gestation, following a gruelling 23-hour labour.

To cope with their devastating experience, the Darlington couple and their loved ones are now throwing themselves into fundraising for SANDS, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity.

They also hope to raise enough to fund a place on a SANDS course for two midwives from DMH.

Mr Blaser, 27, said: “They helped us so much at the hospital, where we were given a memory box and a lot of support – what they did means a lot to us.”

Mr and Mrs Blaser said the support and understanding of loved ones had been vital in helping them get through their ordeal.

Mrs Blaser, 28, added: “To other people going through this, I would say take each day as it comes and do what you feel comfortable with. Take the support as and when you need it, whether it’s from family and friends or charities like SANDS.

“Every day after baby loss is an achievement – the most important thing for Luke and I now is to keep Poppy’s name alive and be proud of all the good her name will do now and in the future.”

On Saturday, December 9, a fun day will be held at St Anne’s Church from 11am until 1pm, with visits from Santa and Captain America.

  • To mark what would have been Poppy's first birthday, in July 2018, Mr and Mrs Blaser aim to complete the Three Peaks Challenge. For details on upcoming fundraising events or to donate, visit