THE MOTHER of Lilly-May Page, the little girl who collapsed and died while at school in Woodley in 2014, is welcoming a new chapter in her life with the arrival of a baby boy.
Claire Page, who has tirelessly campaigned for automatic defibrillators to be installed in every school in Woodley following the death of her five-year-old daughter, has spoken to The Wokingham Paper for the first time about her new arrival.
Mitchell Jason George Flowerdew was born on August 12 by caesarian section at Frimley Park Hospital, weighing 7lb 6oz. Both mother and baby are doing well, but Claire and Mitchell have both undergone tests to determine whether they have the same heart condition which killed Lilly-May.
“I never thought this would happen,” explains Claire. “After Lilly-May died if you were to tell me that I would have another baby, then I would have said you were crazy. I went to see a medium not long after she died, and she told me I would have a little boy and that Lilly-May liked the name George. I thought it was impossible, but when I fell pregnant and found but I was expecting a boy, it all clicked.
“It’s bittersweet. Of course, you want them to be their own person, but I see so much of Lilly in him. He has her eyes, and I think he is going to be as cheeky as her too. She would have been such a proud big sister.”
Lilly-May collapsed on May 15 2014 as she was being collected from Willow Bank Infant School, in Duffield Road. She had suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and Claire maintains that if the school had been fitted with an automatic external defibrillator (AED), her daughter would still be here today.
An inquest into the little girl’s death is due to take place at the end of November.
Claire said: “The inquest will be painful, I will have to relive it all again, but it needs to be done. There are so many unanswered questions, but I owe it to Lilly to find out what happened that day.
“I thought it was important to have the tests done to see if we have the same heart condition that Lilly had. If we do, there is medication we can take or he could be fitted with an internal defibrillator, but it is still early days.”
Claire has turned her personal tragedy into a quest to help others, and has successfully campaigned to install defibrillators in every school in Woodley, and has now turned her attention to schools further afield in Wokingham.
Claire and her fully qualified team not only donate the machines from money raised by the Lilly-May Page Trust, but they run training courses on how to use the defibrillators so that all the teachers and staff, and even some of the children, know how to use them in the event of an emergency.
She continued: “It is definitely getting better, people are a lot more aware of AEDs than they used to be, but we are still getting our message out there.”
Baby Mitchell, who is now three-months-old, is destined to grow up in a world where AEDs are commonplace in public areas, and he has his mum and older sister to thank.
Claire said: “It is going to be hard, seeing him reach the milestones that Lilly never reached. But this is my life now, this is what it is like for grieving parents. You never get over it, ever. But to know that I have made a difference because of what happened to Lilly makes it a little bit easier.”
To find out more about Claire’s work, visit www.heartrhythmalliance.org/aa/uk/lilly-may-page-campaign.