A BALLOON release will be part of one mum’s bittersweet wedding, which will double up as a memorial to babies who have died.
Mum-of-five JoJo Crouch, of Cheviot Road, Worthing, will be getting married at Goring United Reformed Church on June 2.
But the happy occasion will be tinged with sadness as she pays tribute to her first-born daughter alongside the hundreds of other children who have died young.
JoJo, 36, said: “Holly-Ann would have been my eldest daughter at this wedding, and I want her to be involved in it as much as possible. This day is very much about her and the other lost babies as much as it is me.”
JoJo’s daughter Holly-Ann died in January, 1998, owing to cot death at just 15 weeks old. On the day of her wedding, JoJo will visit Holly-Ann’s grave in Durrington Cemetery to lay a posy of bridemaid’s flowers before carrying on to the church.
JoJo’s dress and bouquet will also feature ribbon inscribed with Holly-Ann’s name, and the her initials embroidered on the back of JoJo’s shoes.
Jojo, who has had Holly-Ann tattooed on her back in memory, said she thinks about Holly-Ann every day.
She said: “She is much a part of this family as my other children, who are all involved in the ceremony. I will also be releasing 30 balloons in red, baby pink and white after the ceremony, to mark and remember all the babies lost.”
Since losing Holly-Ann, JoJo has worked to support other “angel mums” who have lost children, most recently through Facebook. Upon hearing of JoJo’s wedding, the angel mums have joined forces to give JoJo the wedding they believe she deserves.
Contributions to the wedding include hand-made jewellery, flowers and invitations, which angel mums across the country have made themselves.
Claire Irvine, 38, who lives in Liverpool, will meet JoJo for the first time at her wedding, and has recruited the help of her partner Jay, a chef, to provide the catering for the wedding.
Claire said: “JoJo is fantastic, she has been my rock since the day I first spoke to her. She is always there for you, even if it’s a phone call at 3am when you’re feeling a bit down.
“We really want to give her the wedding she deserves, she doesn’t have a lot of money and this day is an extra special occasion for both her and the lost angels.”
She added: “The last few things we would really like to find is a hotel room for JoJo’s wedding night, a car to take her to the church and a bagpiper, which is something she and her partner would love.
“If anyone could help us in finding these for her, we would be thrilled.”
JoJo said: “I am so amazed they are doing this for me, because I know if I needed support, they would do exactly the same.”