Jump is our charity of the month for July, and each week we are taking a look at how it helps families with terminally ill children, by creating professional photo albums, called memory books, for them to treasure.
This week we meet volunteers who give up their time for Jump.
THEY are the husband and wife team who put in the hard yards for a charity making a difference for families facing heartbreak.
Linda and Steve Stout, of Payne Close, Sankey, have been with Jump since it started in 2004, helping create photo albums for parents faced with losing their children.
Given that many of the children they meet are terminally ill, it’s a job that has taken some getting used to.
Treasurer Linda, aged 55, said: “People that are so brave are sharing all of these personal things with us.
“I used to sit in the car broken hearted afterwards, but 10 years in and I’ve started to get the hang of it.”
The couple, who head a leadership team of six, became involved with Jump as family friends of Christie Bower.
She started the charity in memory of three-year-old son Jacob Hawthorn, who died after battling congenital muscular dystrophy.
He enjoyed a dream holiday to Disneyland before he died, the family snaps inspiring the idea of ‘memory books’ for other parents.
Steve, Jump secretary, said: “We knew Jacob well, and we wanted to help the family.
“When Christie decided to do memory books for other children, we wanted to be a part of it.”
Steve and Linda estimate they have helped more than 500 families over the last 10 years.
They have also organised events like an annual Santa’s grotto, fun days and charity walks, and work alongside children’s hospitals and hospices, where children are referred from.
Meeting each family, and spending time with them to understand how they want their memory book to look, is the most important part of their job.
“It’s very important because you want to get to know them, and explain what we can do,” added Steve.
“We give them something that will be a lasting memory of their children.”
Despite the sometimes sad nature of their work, they have made friends along the way.
Linda said: “We have met some fantastic families along the way.
“It’s a big part of our life, but a nice part because you’re helping other people.
“Sometimes you see people we’ve helped in town and they say hello.
“It’s an honour to be able to help these people.”
And Jump are in need of more volunteers to carry on the good work.
Linda added: “We think we are doing things the right way, and then realise there’s a better way to do it.
“There is always work to do, but the hardest thing is finding volunteers.”
To find out more about Jump, go to jumpchildrenscharity.co.uk.