Dealing with the loss of a baby is devastating for all those involved. But often, dads can find it tough to cope due to a lack of support available to them.
Alex Walmsley and his partner Olivia found themselves in the horrendous situation of losing a baby not once, but three times in the space of two years.
Having lost a baby girl in March 2017, and a baby boy in September 2017, the couple were heartbroken to find out in early 2018 that Olivia had tragically miscarried.
Speaking to Huddersfield Times, Alex explained that there was very little support available for fathers following the loss of a baby. He was even expected to attend work the very next day.
After doing some research to try and find support to deal with his grief, Alex found out about Sands United FC, which is a local football club that was set up by a father in Northampton who had lost a child. After realising that the nearest club to Alex was in Doncaster, he was motivated to set up his own.
He launched Huddersfield SUFC in March 2020 just before lockdown, and currently has around 40 members, each of whom has been affected by baby loss in one way or another.
Last year, the team took part in a tournament which helped to raise over £1,200 for the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity (SANDS). As part of their kit, players can opt to name their shirts in memory of their losses.
Thankfully, Alex and now wife Olivia were overjoyed when she gave birth to a baby boy called Toby last March. He was welcomed into the family alongside Isaac (7), who is Alex’s step-son.
Speaking about the club, Alex told us “Huddersfield SUFC welcomes all men who have been affected by the loss of a baby. We have dads, brothers, uncles and close friends who all have all share a common experience. There is no limit to footballing ability – we, as a community, welcome anyone who feels they need the support.”
You can find out more information about Huddersfield SUFC by visiting their Facebook page or by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.