Dozens of balloons released at County Ground to mark due date for Northampton parents' stillborn baby

'I want to raise awareness as I knew stillbirths happened but before I had one, I didn't hear about it much'

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 3:44 pm
Updated Friday, 23rd July 2021, 3:46 pm
Ashleigh Johnson-Conway and Dean Donnelly's family and friends release balloons at the County Ground to mark the due date of their son, Leo Martin James Donnelly, who was stillborn. Photo courtesy of Ashleigh

A family came together to mark a stillborn baby's due date by releasing dozens of balloons at the County Ground in Northampton on Wednesday (July 21).

Leo Martin James Donnelly was born asleep at Northampton General Hospital on June 14, after a 34-week pregnancy with no obvious issues.

His mother, Ashleigh Johnston-Conway, works at Northamptonshire County Cricket Club's ground so they allowed her to hold the balloon release.

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"I want to raise awareness as I knew stillbirths happened but before I had one, I didn't hear about it much," the 24-year-old said.

"But two ladies had one while I was in hospital. You don't realise how much it happens so I want to raise awareness."

After the stillbirth, Leo was put into a cuddle cot and Ashleigh and Dean Donnelly, 29, spent four precious days with their son, with their family able to come and spend time with him too.

But the two women who had stillbirths after Ashleigh did not get that because the hospital did not have enough cuddle cots, so she wants to raise money to buy more of those too.

"They are bittersweet memories but it was really special that our family could get to meet him so I'd like to raise money to get more cots too," she added.