Kelbies support SANDS Why17? campaign

THE parents of Alison Kelbie should have now been choosing presents for her fourth birthday or even thinking about buying her first primary school uniform.

Instead, wee Alison lies at rest — where she has been for the last four years — in the quiet corner of Lanark Cemetery that is reserved for stillborn children.

However, the spirit of the little girl, who never saw the outside world, very much lives on.

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For she is the inspiration for a campaign aimed at ensuring that fewer families endure the tragedy the Kelbies did when they heard that, at 32 weeks, Alison had died of an undetected infection in her mum Fiona's womb.

On the eve of Saturday's annual William Smellie Memorial Service at the unborn children's Garden of Remembrance in Lanark, Fiona said it was an outrage that in Britain, every single day, 17 more families would receive the heartbreaking news she and her husband David were given back in 2006.

"It's a scandal but, somehow, one that's just not talked about," she said. "Think of the public outcry if 17 British soldiers a day were being killed in Afghanistan."

It's noticeable that Fiona, originally of Carluke, describes her two girls since that loss, two-and-a-half year old Kirsty and eight-month-old Mirren, as her "second and third children"; Alison still counts as the Kelbie's first child and always will.

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"You can't have someone growing inside you for all these weeks and months without bonding with them," said Fiona.

Fiona and David, of Clegorn, are supporting the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity (SANDS) WHY17? campaign.

To find out more about this story, pick up a copy of this week's Carluke and Lanark Gazette which is in the shops now.

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