Giant blanket brings family some comfort

Jane Young with the blanket she knitted in aid of Help For Heroes

Jane Young with the blanket she knitted in aid of Help For Heroes

First published in News Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , @BerenCross

AS Victoria Stockman was rushed into A&E with burns which would ultimately claim her life last May, her auntie Jane Young was fighting a heart attack on the same ward, by her side.

What’s more, Jane’s own daughter, a staff nurse at Great Western Hospital, was working on the ward that night, as two of her loved ones fought their respective battles.

Victoria, 33, died on May 9, 2013, eight days after a fire in her flat in Redcliffe Street, due to 45 per cent burns and a hypoxic brain injury.

Jane, 64, of Rylands Way in Royal Wootton Bassett, reflected upon a night which changed her family’s lives, after last month completing a 6ft by 8ft blanket in her niece’s memory.

“It’s been a really bad time for me and the family,” said Jane. “I needed to do something good and positive this year.

“We were both in hospital at the same time. I was taken into the hospital at nine or 10 o’clock, and my daughter was on-duty in A&E.

“She said she saw the black legs of the woman they brought in, but they wouldn’t tell her who it was.

“When she got brought in I was only in for two days. I was released the morning after she was brought in and I travelled to Swansea that day to be with her.”

Victoria was transferred in the early hours of May 2 to the Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery at Morriston Hospital in Swansea, but despite undergoing a series of operations including skin grafts, she lost her fight for life at 9.23pm on May 9.

The business co-ordinator’s death brought the curtain down on an extremely tough 2013, during which Jane suffered two separate heart attacks and underwent surgery following the first, which gave her a one-in-40 chance of survival.

She survived and fought back again on the night she shared a hospital ward with her niece, only to then be put through the emotional turmoil of watching doctors try to keep her alive, side-by-side with her sister and Victoria’s mother, Isabella.

“We spent a week up in Swansea, just waiting,” she said. “It was very, very bad because I was there when the doctors came in and said they were switching the machine off.

“We had a feeling it was going to happen because she was on life support for a week, trying to keep her alive. My sister sussed it out. It was devastating for her.

“Victoria was a lovely person. Like me, she was a bit ‘out there’ and sort of extravagant and eccentric.”

After the tragedy and her own brushes with death, Jane began crocheting the blanket near the anniversary of Victoria’s death in early May.

With knitted squares arriving from all over the world thanks to Facebook support, Jane is now raffling off the blanket in aid of Help for Heroes.

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