Time is a healer say bereaved parents as Jack’s Law comes in - The Redditch Standard
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9th Aug, 2022

Time is a healer say bereaved parents as Jack’s Law comes in

A REDDITCH couple whose daughter tragically died when she was just three years old have welcomed plans to introduce ‘Jack’s Law’ in the UK – a minimum of two weeks statutory leave for parents who suffer the devastating loss of a child, instead of the current three days.

Jack’s Law is in memory of Jack Herd whose mother Lucy campaigned tirelessly on the issue. Now it is set to become law in April this year.

Simon and Colleen Preston’s world was torn apart on June 22, 2010 when they walked into their daughter Bethany’s room to get her ready for nursery.

“She was lying face down. Nothing seemed untoward until I started to say ‘wakey-wakey Bethany’, with no response,” said Simon, who teaches in Birmingham.

“I tapped her shoulder, again no response.

“When I turned her over her eyes rolled up. I checked for a pulse and didn’t find one.

“I shouted to my wife to call an ambulance quick and began CPR.”

The paramedics were there within five minutes, and rushed Bethany to hospital. It was there that she was pronounced dead.

“I had lost my daughter and felt like I had failed in being a father,” said Simon.

“We were devastated. The problem was that I was living in a world that continued to move forward but both my wife and I could not.

“Our friendship circle changed as those who we thought were friends distanced themselves and those we knew but were not as close to became very close friends.

“So our whole environment was changing around us.”

Stability disappeared from the couple’s life and with Simon unable to settle, he changed jobs four times in succession.

An ice hockey player, he started to channel his energies into a fund-raising tournament for ‘Bethany’s Legacy Challenge Cup’, played at Coventry Skydome, to raise money for cardiac screening for youngsters.

“It’s amazing what a three year-old can do even though she’s not here,” said Simon, who is Labour’s candidate in the Headless Cross and Oakenshaw ward at the local elections in May.

The couple were also blessed with the birth of a second daughter, Sophie, and Simon admits they’ve been on high alert in case anything should happen to her.

“This is why it is so important to ensure a bereaved parent is given the stability they need to adjust to their new reality,” he said.

“Child bereavement cannot be treated in the same way as more common bereavement and Jack’s Law is a huge step in the direction of recognising this but work still needs to be done with employers so a new foundation can be established and built upon for both the bereaved parents and the employer.”

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