The family of a much-loved baby boy who died as the result of injuries sustained in a motorway crash have launched a new fund to help others who have lost a child.
The first major fundraiser for the Freddie’s Wish fund, set up in memory of 13-month-old Freddie Fox, will come when his grandparents, auntie and friends take on the 10-mile Morrisons Great South Run.
Since we lost Freddie it’s been absolute hellFreddie’s grandfather, Steve Jolliffe
Freddie’s family were left devastated after the cheeky, fun-loving youngster suffered fatal injuries in an accident on the M6, between Rugby and Coventry, in December last year.
As they tried to deal with their grief, Freddie’s mum Charlotte Jolliffe (pictured, with Freddie) realised that there was very little support available to parents who have lost a child.
The family, originally from Rugby and with links to Coventry, have now launched Freddie’s Wish, a charitable trust which aims to raise thousands to support bereaved parents and their families.
One of their first fundraising events will be the Morrisons Great South Run, which takes place in Portsmouth on Sunday, October 25. The family chose the event as it takes place close to October 23, which would have been Freddie’s second birthday.
Freddie’s grandfather Steve Jolliffe, 53, and wife Jill, 52, of Long Itchington near Leamington Spa, will take part in the 10-mile event along with Charlotte’s sister Annabel Jolliffe, 22, and Annabel’s boyfriend Andy Horne, 23.
Also in the team are family friends Jo Crosthwaite, 52, of Long Itchington and Hans Debansi, 53, of Horsham, West Sussex, who is an old schoolfriend of Steve’s.
Charlotte plans to watch the race to cheer on the team running in memory of her son.
Explaining their reasons for setting up the fund, Steve said: “Since we lost Freddie it’s been absolute hell. My daughter has lost everything – her beautiful baby boy who was our first and only grandchild to date.
“The whole family absolutely doted on Freddie and to lose him in such tragic circumstances left a huge hole in all our lives.
“My daughter Charlotte is particularly concerned about the lack of support that is offered for bereaved parents. She felt there was very little support offered to her.
“The way to describe it is that when you become pregnant you go into a system – there are ante-natal checks, health visitors and so on – but when you lose a child there is no such system and you are left to instigate everything yourself.”
The family have already raised thousands of pounds in Freddie’s memory for the Birmingham Children’s Hospital charities.
More than £8,000 came from well-wishers on a fundraising web page set up by Charlotte after Freddie’s death.
The family also staged a series of events to raise £5,000 for Warwickshire Air Ambulance, which attended the crash and tried to save Freddie’s life – buying enough time for the family to be able to say goodbye to him in hospital.
Future fundraising efforts in Freddie’s memory will all go to the Freddie’s Wish fund to support bereaved parents and their families.
Steve added: “We have found that when you suffer a tragedy of this scale you can sink or swim. We decided that we would do positive things in Freddie’s memory – to keep his memory alive by helping other people in similar positions.”
To sponsor Freddie’s family and friends in the Morrisons Great South Run visit their fundraising page at https://www.justgiving.com/FreddieFox23/
For more information on Freddie’s Wish see www.freddieswish.org
The Morrisons Great South Run will take place in Portsmouth on Sunday, October 25 and is the world’s leading 10-mile running event. Enter at greatrun.org/south