A reason to smile again

Mike Towne and Emma McElhinney with their new baby girl Charlie.
Mike Towne and Emma McElhinney with their new baby girl Charlie.

“WE’RE happy again.” Three simple words from a mum and dad who are bursting with pride after the birth of their very special baby girl.

Mike Towne and Emma McElhinney started 2012 with the devastating loss of their first born baby Callum.

But the end of the year couldn’t have been more different as they celebrated the birth of their adorable baby girl Charlie Arabella on December 27 weighing 7lb 1oz.

The couple, of Blakiston Street, are settling into parenthood once again and after the worst year of their lives, they have found happiness again in Charlie.

Mum Emma said: “Until she was born I used to smile through the day but it was a front. Now when I smile, I mean it.”

After Callum lost his battle to meningitis last January, at just six weeks old, Mike and Emma threw themselves into campaigning for Meningitis. They launched Callum’s Crusade, reported extensively in the Fleetwood Weekly News, to raise awareness into the Streptococcus B bacteria which caused Callum’s meningitis and also to fundraise more than £18,000 for Meningitis UK. They campaigned tirelessly as they battled through their own grief. They were absolutely determined to prevent other people suffering the same devastating loss.

“I was sad in a way to see the end of 2012,” said Emma.

“We saw it in with Callum and saw it out with Charlie. We had both our babies with us in 2012 and because of that I feel sad it has passed.

“It was the toughest year ever and we had so many firsts to go through especially his first birthday and Christmas.

“Even though he wasn’t there, we still had a little tea party for his birthday with banners and balloons and celebrated him, and we always will do.

“Callum has given us the best present we could ever wish for in Charlie, she is amazing.

“She’s an easy going baby, she certainly lets us know when she needs changing or feeding but is soon content again afterwards.

“Charlie was Callum’s middle name and her middle name, Arabella, means ‘answered prayer’. When we were looking for names we had to choose Arabella when we saw what it stood for.

Proud dad Mike said: “I’m always willing to talk about Callum, it’s how I deal with it, include him in things. I like to explain about Strep B and meningitis and I think if I tell people and somewhere along the line it helps someone avoid what we had to go through then it’s worth it. Since Charlie was born, we have a reason to keep going. Grieving Callum was like having your heart ripped out every single day and it’s so easy to lose control.

“I smiled through things but I never really felt happy. As much as I miss Callum and think about him every day, I’m now happy again.”