A family from Heaton are hosting an afternoon fundraising event in memory of their little boy who died at just 17 hours old.

Gemma Bentley, 38, and her husband, Phillip, are hosting an afternoon tea fundraiser to raise money for two charities who went above and beyond for their family when they were grieving.

Their newborn baby, Luca, died at just 17 hours old from hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, which is severe brain damage due to a lack of oxygen and multi-organ failure.

Gemma said it was completely unexpected.

She said: "We lost our little boy Luca in June 2020 and our world as we once knew it was shattered in that single moment, it was completely unexpected and the grief and shock that followed is still very hard to describe.

"I had gone all the way through the pregnancy and he was a healthy baby boy, but when I was rushed for an emergency c-section he was really poorly when he was born.

"I had a really low risk pregnancy and not even dreamt or thought about the possibility of us losing our baby at the end, you just don't think it will happen to you.

"After the loss of Luca, we were just devastated and it was just horrendous the bit right afterwards; planning the funeral and all the things that come right after losing your baby and him not being at home with us and then the longer term when the funeral is done and people are carrying on with their lives, so that's when we needed the support.

"Myself and my two older boys, they're 14 and 10, were all really struggling mentally and emotionally and to just sort of get by day by day and process what had happened, that's when we were put in contact with Child Bereavement UK.

"They were our lifeline, a lady called Sarah spoke to myself and my children and just massively helped us.

"The Compassionate Friends also support bereaved parents and I follow them on Facebook, they are a really good support network as well.

"So I just thought last year was his first birthday, which I found horrendously hard, and then this year he will be two on June 13 and I thought you know what I'm just going to do a bit of fundraising for these charities.

"I have decided I now feel mentally ready to do some fundraising to mark his birthday, it will also give me a focus around this difficult time of the year."

The afternoon tea event will take place the day before Luca's second birthday on June 12, at Heaton Village Club with a raffle, tombola and many prizes up for grabs.

Gemma said she has already had a great response.

She said: "I put a post on Facebook about the raffle and it's just taken off, I've already had a really really good response.

"I've got a lot of raffle prizes together already, I've already collected about 20 prizes so far and a lot more to come this week.

"All in all there is about 50 businesses who have supported our fundraiser and probably about another 50 individuals as well.

"It's been overwhelming really the response we've had, it's been so good."

Tickets are priced at £5 for entry, a piece of cake and a glass of either fizz, tea, coffee or a soft drink.

If you would like to buy tickets or to offer a prize for the raffle go to https://www.facebook.com/Afternoon-Tea-Fundraiser-103857988996755/