BEREAVED parents have the chance to spend more time with their babies who have passed away thanks to a generous donation.

Darlington Memorial Hospital have received funding for two new 'cuddle cots', a cooling mattress which can be placed within a crib, to help preserve a deceased baby's body from deteriorating.

After nine months of waiting longingly to meet a child, it is no doubt exceptionally cruel that some parents are instead left with only a number of hours, but for many grieving families every extra minute spent with their baby is considered a blessing, made possible through 'cuddle cots'

Emma Bouic, bereavement link midwife at Darlington Memorial Hospital, said: "We currently have two cuddle cots in the maternity ward and since their introduction I have never known a bereaved couple not to use them.

"They offer the gift of extra time, and allow parents to keep their baby with them for as longer, a opportunity which most would not pass up.

"Everyone is different, some parents want to be with their baby all the time, others prefer more sporadic times, it's entirely up to each individual couple."

The mattress uses a specially insulated hose, connected to a cooling unit full of water to pump and circulate cold water through the mat which provides an ideal temperature for preserving a baby.

"The cots are an essential for us here because we don't have the ideal temperatures in the ward for stillborn babies with it being very warm on the sixth floor of the building," said Ms Bouic. "It's a very welcome donation and we're very thankful."

The hospital had requested a new 'cuddle cot' through the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, which works with local businesses who want to donate funds towards needed equipment.

It was Hays Travel in Darlington who raised enough money for one 'cuddle cot' through through three charity coach trips, one in Whitby and two to York. This amount was then matched by Hays Travel foundation, making a total of £2,890 resulting in enough for two cots.