The parents of a baby girl who died at just 10-days-old have spoken out about how running helps them to grieve, look after themselves, and connect with her.

Jade Peacock Nash’s heart stopped when she was born on January 9 at University Hospital Lewisham, and although staff revived her, she died on January 19 at Demelza hospice in Eltham.

The Lewisham pair have had an “emotionally charged” year, and have both taken to running as a way of dealing with grief, taking time for themselves and as a way of connecting with their daughter.

Less than 10 months after her tragic death, parents Claire Nash and Wayne Flanagan, both 34, ran the London marathon last weekend.

They dressed in peacock-themed outfits as a “celebration” of their "peacock" daughter.

Wayne told the News Shopper: “After Jade had died I ran for my own mental health and so that I could really start to try and understand what was going on.

“It became a time and space for me to grieve and it became a really integral part of me looking after me.

“Then we got to the stage where we really wanted to do something to celebrate Jade and raise money in her name for the people who looked after her and us so the London marathon seemed fitting."

Claire added: “For us, the London marathon was a massive celebration of Jade.

“We wanted to celebrate her in style and by being dressed up as peacocks, it got people shouting peacock and her name which was written on our tops.

“I’d always been a keen runner as a kid and then for years and years since I’ve been that person who will make an excuse not to go running.

“I watched Wayne come back from his runs and saw the benefits and it was his time to connect with Jade as he would see or hear something which allowed him to connect.

“I wanted to see if I felt a similar connection, which I did, so it was like well now I’m up for any challenge that life wants to throw at me so I’ll do the marathon.

News Shopper:

“Nothing is going to mentally challenge me more than losing Jade so I was willing to give it my all.”

Wayne has previously run the London, Brighton and Berlin marathons but this was Claire’s first long-distance challenge.

The pair gave Jade the middle name Peacock after their son Elijah, 5, started calling her a little peacock when Claire was pregnant.

They had an app which told them how big their baby was each week, and when Jade was the size of a pea, Elijah named her a peacock.

Elijah still calls his sister a peacock now, and will sometimes draw peacocks in her memory as well.

Wayne said: “With baby loss there’s often a stigma and it can be difficult.

“A lot of the time, people feel awkward and don’t want to talk about it but by doing the marathon and being dressed as peacocks we can show that we want to talk about Jade but we don’t always know how because it hurts and there’s sadness.

“For us, the run was to show we do want to talk about her, we want everyone to remember her and people know we always think about her.

“People run the London marathon for so many different reasons and it gives such an opportunity to give a voice and a platform for people and their reasons.

“By proxy, it lets people talk about their loss.

“During the run people told us they’d lost their children two years ago or 10 years ago and it’s warming when people want to talk to me about it and I really do want to hear their stories – it’s endearing.”

Claire explained: “We don’t want people to feel uncomfortable when they bring Jade's name up.

“We might cry but we’d prefer to cry and talk about her because she’s our daughter, she always will be and she’s a massive part of our lives.”

Claire and Wayne completed the 26.2 mile challenge in just under seven hours, and stopped to talk to family and friends half way.

They expressed how much they didn’t want the marathon to end.

Claire said: “We took our time during the second half because we could hear the crowds roaring and shouting ‘come on Jade’.

“I think I was really able to take it in and I almost didn’t want the marathon to end because it felt like it had only just begun at that point.

“When we saw Elijah along the way it really got me as he was super proud and there’s a mini marathon happening at his school and he wants to do it so he’s definitely got the bug as well.”

News Shopper:

Claire and Wayne did the run to raise money for the people who had helped them and Jade throughout her life.

Wayne said their fundraising efforts were now nearing £20,000 – and they will continue to do more to raise money to support the mental wellbeing of NHS staff.

Claire added: “We’ve already started talking about what comes after this and it’s certainly not the end.

“We’re just so proud of Jade and Elijah and it’s the donations from people we’ve never met that really puts it into perspective.

“Jade has touched so many hearts.”

Claire and Wayne were both Covid positive when Jade was born six weeks before her due date.

On January 9, she called University Hospital Lewisham after a bleed and was told to go in despite her Covid status.

Unable to use public transport due to the virus, Claire walked about a mile to the hospital.

Labour had started and everything progressed well until the baby’s heart rate started falling and a swift forceps delivery was required.

Jade suffered Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) during her birth so had significant brain damage due to oxygen deprivation.


To donate to fundraising in Jade’s memory click here.

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