A BEREAVED mother from Kilwinning has run 26 miles to raise funds in memory of her late daughter – one mile for each year they have spent apart.

Nicola Pill, 44, lost her daughter, Courtney Magdalene Scott, in April 1995 after she was “born sleeping”, with no apparent reason given as to why she died.

Heartbroken, Nicola turned to Ayrshire Baby Loss Support, formerly Ayrshire Sands, for help and guidance on how to navigate her way through the deep trauma of losing her daughter at birth.

Nicola says she was given a “lifeline”, and went on to make long-lasting connections with other parents in the group and even forged a new career path as a social worker to reflect the care and compassion she received.

Nicola, who now lives in Stewarton, said: “I ran the marathon on Courtney’s birthday on April 2 which made it even more special.

“She was full-term and we never knew what happened or why she died. She was absolutely perfect. She just looked like she was sleeping. She weighed five pounds 12 and was born at 5:48am.

“I was absolutely devastated. You can’t put into words how it feels to long for your baby and then for her to be taken away. Not having a reason had a lifelong impact on my own mental health and wellbeing.

“Ayrshire Baby Loss Support was a lifeline for me because I felt really lonely but there I could identify with other people who had gone through a similar situation. I was planning to go into nursing but because of that I became a qualified social worker for North Ayrshire Council where I’ve worked for about 20 years. I really wanted to give back.”

Nicola’s run took her past Knadgerhill Cemetery where she stopped to lay flowers at where Courtney is buried alongside Nicola’s father. So far she has raised £1,650 for the group.

She added: “I think about Courtney every day. I went on to have four other children who have all been perfect but we’re always missing that person at the table. It never goes away. Ayrshire Baby Loss Support are an amazing group of volunteers who have been touched by similar loss so they can identify with how people are feeling. They gave me a sense of hope.”

For more information on Ayrshire Baby Loss Support, click here.