A SOLIHULL man is calling for bereaved dads to join his special football team after he endured the heartbreak of losing his son Lucas before he was born.
Kingshurst resident David Hammond, 34, was inspired by other dads who joined the Sands United project, to play football in memory of their lost babies.
Sands is a stillbirth and neonatal death charity and it rolled out the project to give families – particularly dads – a chance to bond over football and fight grief together.
Mr Hammond is keen to hear from any dads in Solihull or Birmingham who want to join his team and raise money for the charity.
He hopes that men who normally find it difficult to discuss their feelings can develop a support network at the club.
He said: “My baby son Lucas sadly died last year before birth after he was diagnosed with spina bifida which affected his spine and the growth of his brain.
“Losing Lucas was and is still heart-breaking and is something my partner and I are still dealing with.
“As I man I felt like I had to hide how heartbroken I was and had to be the strong one to look after my partner.
“I wouldn’t tell her when I felt upset because I didn’t want to upset her, but I have learnt that we are dealing with this together and have learnt to share things with her more.
“Since Lucas’ death I have wanted to do something to help myself come to terms with my grief, and to also help other bereaved dads in Solihull and the West Midlands.”
With the help of the local Sands charity branch, he recently formed Sands United Football Club Solihull – but now he needs players.
He says it is not just for dads who have lost children but for any man who is battling to overcome grief.
He added that the death of a baby is not a rare event and every 90 minutes in the UK – the length of a football match – a baby dies shortly before, during or soon after birth.
More teams have been formed across the country and on many kits, the players have the names of their lost children embroidered next to their hearts.
Other dads involved in the project elsewhere are David Rooney and Kenny Harrison (pictured).
For more information visit the Sands website here: https://www.sands.org.uk/get-involved/sands-united-fc