A DEVASTATED Earlston family is hoping to ease the pain for other grieving parents by undertaking a series of spring and summer challenges.

And all proceeds from their fundraising will go towards creating lasting mementoes for mums and dads to remember their lost babies.

Last February Keith and Marie Briggs welcomed identical twins into the world - eight weeks early.

Thomas Joseph Briggs, known as Tommy, was born first, shortly before his twin brother Joseph, known as Joe, who was sadly stillborn as a result of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.

Tommy spent five weeks in hospital and was cared for both in the Special Care Baby Unit at Borders General Hospital and the Simpsons Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh.

During those weeks before Tommy was finally allowed home, the Briggs family was supported by the Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS) Diana nurse Evelyn Rodger.

Evelyn has remained an invaluable support ever since.

Part of her role as a Diana Nurse is to provide bereavement support and to help parents find ways to create lasting memories of their babies.

Marie told us: “Evelyn is a compassionate, kind, gentle woman who is incredibly knowledgeable in bereavement care and we feel privileged that she was there to support us in making cherished memories with Joe and with saying goodbye with no regrets.

“As part of the memory making process, we asked if she would be able to help us take 3D casts of Joe’s feet.

"Evelyn was more than willing to help us in any way she could.

"Joe’s cast is now one of our most cherished possessions and to be able to physically touch, hold, see, something that was exactly his is so very precious.

“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.

"May he always know how much he was wished for, longed for, prayed for and wanted.”

In Scotland, more than 15,000 children and young people live with life-shortening conditions and CHAS provides its hospice services nationwide for many of the babies, children and young people from Rachel House in Kinross and Robin House in Balloch.

A 3D cast service is available within the CHAS hospices, but the Joe's Toes project will take the mementoes into neonatal units - providing an opportunity for many more parents to make precious lasting memories following the death of their baby.

All funds raised by the Joe's Toes project will allow CHAS to purchase materials required to make the 3D baby hand and foot-casts.

In the coming months, the Briggs family’s fundraising group will tackle the 89-mile Tour de Lauder cycling challenge, which will include an extra 11 miles to make it to Borders General Hospital, the Edinburgh half marathon, the Great North Run, the Loch Ness Marathon and also hosting a ladies cocktail night in the summer.

They are currently halfway towards raising their £5,000 target.

Fiona Leslie, who is the community fundraiser at CHAS, added: “Along with Marie and Evelyn, we are currently designing a beautiful box that families will be able to put their castings in to transport home and keep safe.

"We can’t thank Marie, Keith, their family and friends enough for taking on this awesome summer of fundraisers for this particularly special project.

"The funds they raise and this idea in itself will help bring comfort to so many families. It’s a lovely legacy for their little boy.”

Anyone wishing to sponsor the Briggs family can go to https://give.everydayhero.com/uk/joe-s-toes