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Hollyoaks star Jennifer Metcalfe to attend Chester stillbirth service

The actress will show her support to the event, which remembers babies and children who have passed away

Hollyoaks actress Jennifer Metcalfe who plays Mercedes McQueen

Hollyoaks star Jennifer Metcalfe will visit Chester to lend her support to a special service remembering babies and children who have passed away.

The actress who plays Mercedes McQueen in the Channel 4 soap, has recently acted in ‘challenging’ and emotional scenes that have seen her character give birth to a stillborn baby.

So when Claire Anderson, who organised this year’s Wave of Light Service at St Werburgh’s Church last month, asked Jennifer if she wanted to come along to next year’s event, she was more than happy to oblige.

Claire, from Great Sutton, arranges Chester’s Wave of Light services each year, an international event where participants light candles at 7pm in each time zone in order to create a wave of light across the world in memory of children that have gone too soon.

Related : Chester Wave of Light Service 2015

She does it in memory of her son Joseph who was stillborn on June 2 2013 and another son, Samuel, was stillborn on February 4 this year. Both boys are buried together in the baby garden at Overleigh Cemetery, Handbridge ‘just like the bunk beds they would have shared had they been born alive’, she said.

Claire, mum to six-year-old daughter Ellie and four-year-old Stephen who is autistic, said she is still not sure where next year’s service will be held but it will take place on October 15 2016.

“I can’t thank Jennifer enough for confirming she will attend the service,” she said. “It’s an incredibly hard subject to deal with but she will bring so much comfort to mummies like me by bringing it into the spotlight and raising awareness.

Claire Anderson with her son Stephen and daughter Ellie. She lost her two sons Joseph and Samuel to stillbirth

"I have been organising this service since October 2013 and am trying to reach out to any families who have been touched by baby loss to welcome them to come and have their baby’s name read out and a candle lit in their memory; it does not matter if the baby passed away 60 years ago or 6 weeks ago, everyone is welcome.”

Jennifer’s agent confirmed the date was in her diary and said she would be ‘more than happy’ to attend. She has previously spoken about how challenging she found filming the storyline, in which Mercedes was told her unborn baby had died after realising she hadn’t felt a kick all day.

“It was really hard to do and challenging as an actress,” said Jennifer. “Filming it, I got a lump in my throat and that was it. By the end of it all, I was just sat there sobbing.”

The teatime Channel 4 soap worked with stillbirth awareness charity Count the Kicks and neonatal death charity Sands on making the storyline as sensitive and accurate as possible.

Jennifer added: “I’m honoured to have been given this storyline to raise awareness of such an important cause. Count the Kicks is a fantastic charity, which aims to teach expectant mothers about noticing changes in their pregnancy to reduce the risk of stillbirth.

“And working with Sands has helped me understand how Mercedes would cope with life after her baby has died.”

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