Sonny-Jim has two godmothers. They are two of my closest of friends.
One is an incredible single mum to an almost 17-year-old lad.
The other is mother to three boys – but her middle son, Alfie, was stillborn.
Ashingdon’s Emma Cox was pregnant with Alfie at the same time I was expecting Sonny Jim. But as I cuddled my three-month-old tot, she gave birth to a sweet baby boy, who never cried and never opened his eyes.
This was almost three years ago. And I have been in awe of her ever since.
Losing a child must be the worst thing a mother can experience. It literally breaks hearts.
And for someone to be able to take that tragedy and try and do some good, takes utterly incredible strength.
Since Alfie’s birth, Emma, and her husband Danny, have raised thousands of pounds for Southend Hospital – the place where she gave birth to all three of her boys.
And, to mark what should be Alfie’s third birthday, she has organised – for the second year now – a fabulous charity ball.
Alfie’s Ball 2019 is being held at the Park Inn Radisson Hotel, Southend, on Saturday, July 6. Last year’s ball raised more than £5,000 for the Special Care Baby Unit and the Butterfly Bereavement Suite at Southend Hospital.
This year she looks set to raise even more – thanks to the vast amount of people, from X Factor finalists (Talia Dean and Russell Jones Jr will both be singing on the night) to local businesses (including Basildon’s Underfloor Heating Store who are sponsoring the ball) showing their support.
And the reason for this backing, I believe, is that it’s not hard to feel inspired by a woman who organises a black tie ball in memory of a child she would so very much rather be throwing a Peppa Pig party for.
That we can’t help but hold our children just a little bit tighter – because she is living – so courageously – with a loss we all hope we never have to face.