Bereaved Chichester parents fundraise to secure woodland space

Jo Meeke and Matt Gurney
Jo Meeke and Matt Gurney

A fundraising campaign aimed at purchasing woodland space for bereaved parents has been launched by a Chichester couple.

Jo Meeke and Matt Gurney lost their baby son, Puck, in March this year, just hours after his birth.

After leaving hospital, Matt and Jo found that Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve, north of Chichester, offered them a place to reconnect with nature and assist with their grieving.

It was this experience that led them to launch Puck’s Promise, with the sole aim of providing a special private place for families suffering the loss of a baby.

Jo said: “Having lost our baby son so very recently, we wanted to do something that could really bring other parents together who have suffered the same tragedy.

“As somebody who has worked in the field of professional nature and ecological conservation, as well as the health and wellbeing sector, I have a firm belief that reconnecting with nature by spending time in the wild can help us open up to our human nature.

“Puck’s Woodland will offer a safe and peaceful environment that enables families the time, space and support to face the rollercoaster of emotions that show up when grieving for a baby and whilst coming to terms with a life that has changed forever.”

Jo and Matt have raised £12,000 of the £65,000 target to date and once land has been secured they will look to work with bereavement midwives from St Richard’s Hospital and Princess Anne’s Hospital in Southampton for it to become a place of onward support for parents and families following hospital counselling.

“When Matt and I founded Puck’s Promise, our sole intention has been to try and bring something positive from Puck’s loss,” Jo added.

“We hope that families having suffered baby loss will use Puck’s Woodland both as a space to find solace and to connect with others who understand their pain.”