South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust has today launched the use of specially knitted pocket blankets for premature babies who are unable to be resuscitated.

Named Lilly Pockets in honour of Emergency Care Support Worker James Ingleton and his wife Sarah’s daughter, who was born prematurely at 17 weeks, the carefully knitted pockets were the idea SECAmb’s Consultant Midwife, Dawn Kerslake.

Dawn said: “In my previous role in hospital, we had all sorts of things like this for premature babies.  However, it was apparent that when I joined the ambulance service, crews didn’t have anything specific to place babies into for the parents and so these little Lilly pockets are designed to place a premature baby, under 20 weeks.”

Thanks to Cuddles UK, a non-profit-making group of keen knitters who knit items for premature babies, we have issued in the region of 500 Lilly Pockets which will now form part of the crews’ maternity kit bag.

For James and Sarah, it is a fitting honour to the memory of their daughter who was diagnosed with Edwards’ Syndrome following the couple’s first scan.

Very few babies with Edwards’ Syndrome survive and most die either after or just before they are born.   Babies with Edwards’ Syndrome will have three copies of chromosome number 18 instead of two.

Initially the pockets were to be named cuddle pockets but after James shared his and Sarah’s experience of losing Lilly during an online maternity training session, Dawn approached James to ask whether the pockets could be named after Lilly.

James, who is based at our Make Ready Centre in Ashford, said: “I am so pleased and so proud that we have these blankets in her legacy. It touched me so deeply and meant so much to us that someone recognised how important this is to parents.”

Sarah added: “It really is the little things that mean so much to you when you are going through something like this. I remember having a blanket for Lilly and it was so important to me that she had that and it is something that has always stayed with me. Parents will remember these little things.”