Riding hard to help baby loss cause

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The Sunflower Army dress up in a bid to get donations. Pic by Molly Copoc @ JMU Journalism

The Sunflower Army dress up in a bid to get donations. Pic by Molly Copoc @ JMU Journalism

Fitness fanatics and keen amateurs took to their spin bikes in a 11-hour ‘spinathon’ in a bid to raise awareness of baby loss and stillbirth.

Spinners were part of the charity foundation. Team Ella, also known as the sunflower army, which raises funds for charities who support work towards reducing stillbirths.

The spinathon at the Capital Building on Friday was held to support the new-born appeal at Liverpool Women’s Hospital in memory of a little baby boy called Arran Edward Robson who spent his only few precious days in there last year.

The foundation was formed in memory of Ella Gilvarry, who was stillborn in November 2010, and the organisation has been raising money for stillbirth, baby loss and children’s charities for the past five years.

In that time, it has raised over £100,000 for various charities, both local and nationwide.

YouTube: JMU Journalism

Ella’s father, and founder of Team Ella, Dominic Gilvarry, told JMU Journalism: “The reason we are doing an 11-hour spinathon is because today is the 11th day of the 11th month and 11 is to mark the 11 babies that are stillborn in the UK every single day.

“We are hoping to help break down the taboo of baby loss, stillbirth and let people talk about it and understand it and hopefully when they do this we can maybe do more to stop it happening.”

Dominic has worked closely with Arran’s dad, Scott Robson, who was also taking part in the spinathon that day.

The fundraiser also marked the sixth birthday of baby Ella, which was the day after the event.

In total, 19 bikes were set up in the foyer of the Capital Building, with more than 50 people taking part in the spinning class at some point throughout the day.

Lee McConnell, who was due to take part in the spin, told JMU Journalism: “I’m nervous because I haven’t been on a bike for a long time so I’m worried that I won’t be able to last but I am determined to do it because it’s such a great cause.

“I know Dom very well and I’m very close with him, so the cause is close to my heart as well and I am hoping that will get me through.”

About Molly Copoc, JMU Journalism