Tuesday 6 December 2016

Anne Diamond proud of Back To Sleep campaign after tragedy of son's death

Published 20/11/2016 | 16:01

Anne Diamond fronted the government's Back To Sleep campaign following the death of her four-and-a-half-month-old son Sebastian in 1991
Anne Diamond fronted the government's Back To Sleep campaign following the death of her four-and-a-half-month-old son Sebastian in 1991

Broadcaster Anne Diamond has told of her pride at her safe sleep campaign, 25 years after losing her baby son to sudden infant death syndrome.

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The presenter fronted the government's Back To Sleep campaign - which advised parents to put their babies to sleep on their backs as opposed to their fronts - following the death of her four-and-a-half-month-old son Sebastian in 1991.

The drive is estimated to have prevented thousands of babies from dying from the syndrome, also known as cot death.

Diamond, 62, opened up about her loss in a special programme on her BBC Radio Berkshire show, in which she said the successful campaign is her child's "wonderful legacy".

She said: "I'm a very proud mother. I only had four and a half months with him and I guess I see the Back To Sleep campaign as his legacy.

"But I know that it's not just his. I've met so many parents over the years who lost their babies and weren't able to achieve what I've been able to achieve because their babies died at the wrong time.

"I mean, when you look at it my baby died at a time when a breakthrough was being made and so, frankly, what it needed was a famous person to come and along and say 'Okay, I'll spearhead a campaign'."

Diamond's son Oliver was celebrating his fourth birthday on the day Sebastian passed away.

Now 29, he said of his mother's campaign: "I feel like it was a solemn duty that the whole family undertook and that any other mother in that situation didn't have the capability that you did.

"But you took that capability and you went with it until you had got exactly what you wanted, and I do think looking back that was just an amazing example of my mother just not stopping until the situation righted itself and that's the gift that Sebastian gave."

Diamond and her now ex-husband Mike Hollingsworth went on to have two more sons after Sebastian's death but said he has never been out of their minds.

Hollingsworth said: "My boys give me a Christmas present every year of a photograph of them.

"They do it every year in exactly the same order so I've got pictures, each year, of how they've all grown in various ways ... but of course ... there's always someone missing."

Diamond said she is "terribly proud" of her family's role in preventing so many deaths.

"I know it's not just about Sebastian and my family. I know it's about all those other families," she said.

"But, of course, I'm just a mum, so when I think about him then I do think about it as a wonderful legacy for him to have achieved."

:: Sebastian's Story is on The Anne Diamond Show, BBC Radio Berkshire, 10am to 1pm on Monday, November 21, and on BBC iPlayer Radio.

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