Earlston couple hailed as inspiration at national award ceremony

Earlston's Keith and Marie Briggs with, left, author Giovanna Fletcher.
Earlston's Keith and Marie Briggs with, left, author Giovanna Fletcher.

A Borders couple have won a national award for their efforts to help others, like them, hit by the tragedy of losing babies.

Keith and Marie Briggs, both 36, of Earlston, were named as pregnancy problem research charity’s Tommy’s inspirational family of the year at a ceremony in London.

The pair welcomed identical twin boys to the world, eight weeks early in February last year only to face the heartache of losing one, Joe, to stillbirth as a result of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.

His brother Tommy survived, however, thanks to the efforts of medics at the Borders General Hospital at Melrose and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The tragedy of losing one of their sons has spurred them on to help other families facing similar plights by working with Children’s Hospices Across Scotland on a project called Joe’s Toes in memory of the tragic tot.

That wasn’t the first misfortune to hit the pair either as Marie suffered a miscarriage in 2014, naming the son they were never to know Murray after he was delivered after an induced labour at 16 weeks, having died of in-utero pneumonia.

The couple’s wish to have a family was finally granted in 2016 with the birth of daughter Rosie, and the arrival of Tommy the year after added to that happiness.

Marie said: “Our little Joe has given us, and now other families, so much without even being here.

“He never drew breath, but he has changed us forever. He has reminded us all of how precious and fragile life can be.

“Every day is a challenge, but he has already shown us that we have a strength within us, individually and as a family, that can move mountains.”

“Although we are beginning to learn to cope with the loss we have experienced, we will always grieve for what we are missing.

“Our babies will always be in our thoughts and carried in our hearts.”

The family and well-wishers have also raised almost £9,500 for charity by tackling the likes of the Tour de Lauder cycling challenge, nearly double the initial £5,000 target they set themselves.

Anyone wishing to add to that total can do so at give.everydayhero.com/uk/joe-s-toes