Charity football match raises £12,000 as Harrogate parents donate funds in memory of beloved son

Bereaved Harrogate parents say they are extremely grateful to two local football teams who hosted a charity match that has created a £12,000 legacy for their much-missed baby son Declan.

Friday, 8th October 2021, 11:19 am
Updated Friday, 8th October 2021, 11:20 am
Teams from Harrogate Railway and Knaresborough Town AFC line up with Simon and Zoe Parkes at the charity football match

The donation follows a Harrogate Railway versus Knaresborough Town charity football match to raise funds in memory of baby Declan Parkes, and in support of his parents Simon and Zoe Parkes.

In February, Simon and Zoe sadly lost their son Declan, when he was born sleeping at Harrogate Hospital at 40 weeks and four days old.

Harrogate Hospital provided a ‘cuddle cot’, allowing them to spend precious days with Declan, and as a result of this they decided they wanted to raise additional funds to provide another cuddle cot for the hospital, ensuring other families were provided with this important experience.

Simon and Zoe said: “The refrigerator cuddle cot at the hospital gave us the opportunity to have precious moments and memories with our son Declan.

“We originally set out to raise £2,500 for the trust to donate a new modernised cuddle cot, but because of everyone’s generosity, we are now able to donate more equipment to the maternity department of Harrogate, which is incredible especially knowing that local friends and family will inevitably have future experience in this ward.”

Simon and Zoe also had additional support from stillbirth charity Sands, who work with grieving families.

“Sands offer an open network space to speak with parents who have been going through a similar experience, as well as a specialist team that can support throughout the grieving process and this was important to ensure that you never felt alone.” Simon and Zoe added.

“A good proportion of donations go towards research of stillbirths, which was a key reason why we wanted to support this charity as it was a heart-warming feeling knowing that we may actually be able to support and save a future babies life.”

Harrogate-based charity Impulse Decisions stepped in to help the couple arrange the charity football match where over 450 spectators attended.

The match, played at Knaresborough Town AFC, finished 2-3 to Harrogate Railway, but was played in great spirits, though the real winners were the charities.

Tom Hesketh, Director of Hospitality Sales at Impulse Decisions said: “The day was a massive success and raising more than £12,000 is a massive achievement for Simon and Zoe and will leave a lasting legacy for little Declan.”

Simon and Zoe would like to thank everyone who joined them on the day and for their kind generosity, Tom at Impulse Decisions and Knaresborough Town’s volunteers who helped make the day a huge success.

They added: “2021 has been a very difficult year for us and our family which is why we wanted to turn a negative experience into an event that could be powerful for the legacy of Declan’s name and to support and make a difference to families who are unfortunate enough to go through this horrific eventuality.”