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Refrigeration firm Bond Group set to export 'cold cots' for stillborn babies to US and Australia after work with Medway charity Abigail's Footsteps

By Nicola Everett
A company that developed a "cold cot" to be used by parents who have suffered a stillbirth has been approached to export them to the US and Australia.
 
Bond Group usually make commercial refrigeration cabinets for supermarket chains including Asda, Iceland and Waitrose.
 
The Sheerness-based firm was approached to come up with a cot design by Abigail's Footsteps, a Medway charity that supports parents of stillborn babies.
 
Bond Group makes cold cots for Medway charity Abigail's Footsteps - pic Rachel Luckhurst photography

Bond Group makes "cold cots" for Medway charity Abigail's Footsteps - pic: Rachel Luckhurst photography

 
Keeping the baby at a cooler temperature means the child can stay with its parents for several days rather than just hours, giving families the chance to grieve and say goodbye.
 
It took six months to design the cot which is being used at Abigail's Place bereavement suite at Medway Maritime hospital in Gillingham and was recently visited by the Countess of Wessex.
 
One has also been delivered to Ashford's William Harvey hospital where a similar facility is being built.
 
Trials of the cots have been so helpful for families, the company is receiving inquiries from abroad.
 
Sales and marketing director Phil Proudman said: "We've been approached a little bit through Abigail's Footsteps from the export market - America and Australia.
 
"We haven't done any exporting to date but we wouldn't rule it out as being something that we do for other charities, but our heart is with Abigail's at the moment."
 
The company are already working on a second design and say their relationship with the charity is a long-term commitment.
 
Finance director Paula Edwards said it was something very close to her heart, after going through the painful experience as a parent.
 
She said: "I've had stillborn babies and I was never offered one of the cold cots.
 
"All that used to happen was the baby would be brought in and out to you in a straw moses basket, so this is a lot better because the baby can stay with the mother in the hospital.
 
"It would have changed it for me if I'd have had that extra time to spend with my babies.
 
"It's vital for both parents really, not just the mother, to have that extra time with the baby."

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