A group of passionate women came together with a common goal, to promote remembrance photography across the UK. They have all been touched by loss, either their own, or that of someone close to them.
Here are the co-founders of Remember My Baby.
Cheryl Johnson ~ Chair & Mat Co-ordinator
Cheryl Johnson is a wife, mother to two teenage sons, and a photographer who specialises in family photography in Essex. Born in East London, she first used the camera to document life growing up in the 70s in and around Upton Park, her home and that of her beloved football team. A passionate photographer for almost forty years, she has been a business owner for the past ten.
Cheryl’s first experience of a family’s devastation was when a friend had a stillborn baby on Christmas Day 1989. All they had to remember their son was one black and white Polaroid picture. They had it enlarged and even though the quality was extremely poor, framed it is proudly displayed along with other family members’ photos. This stayed with Cheryl for many years until in 2007 she first became involved with remembrance photography. “This is what I was meant to do.” says Cheryl.
Cheryl is committed to Remember My Baby and its aims, and is willing to devote the necessary time and effort to develop remembrance photography within the UK.
And just like Richard Avedon Cheryl says “I speak through my photographs more intricately, more deeply, than with words.”
Nicky Heppenstall ~ Vice Chair
Nicky is married to an engineer, Mark, and they live in Derbyshire with their two children, Oliver and Jodie, and 3 cats. Their stillborn daughter Kim remains part of the family, and is the reason for Nicky’s evident passion for Remembrance Photography. A keen photographer since her teens, Nicky decided to turn professional after undertaking training with studio lighting, and being awarded a Distinction from the Royal Photographic Society in 2010. Nicky launched her part-time photographic business and recently transferred her Distinction to The National Photographic Society (NPS).
Nicky has attended a workshop with Chicago bereavement photographer Todd Hochberg, along with the bereavement midwife from her local unit, and subsequently delivered training to small groups of midwives to improve their ability with point and shoot cameras on the ward.
Nicky has had previous experience volunteering for national charities at a local level, mainly with regard to bereavement support following the loss of a baby, and is determined to see Remembrance Photography offered as a choice to parents as widely as possible in the UK.
Alison Bryan ~ Treasurer
Alison became interested in the work of RMB after becoming friends with co-founder Cheryl Johnson. She is passionate about volunteer work and is also a keen amateur photographer. She started life in finance in 1989 in the prestigious City of London, working in large international banks. After taking a short career break to start a family, she now works for a local school as their finance officer, as well as running her own busy bookkeeping business. An East Londoner by birth, she now lives in Essex with her husband and son.
Michele Selvey ~ Membership Secretary
Michele lives in South Staffordshire and is married with four grown up children. She experienced a pregnancy loss herself in 1989. It is because of her own personal experience of baby loss that she is so passionate about supporting and promoting the RMB organisation’s services so as to ensure that all families in the UK experiencing a baby loss have access to this much needed remembrance photography service.
She has over 22 years of experience working and supporting pregnant women and their families as a Maternity HCA, student midwife and Doula as well as supporting parents experiencing a pregnancy or baby loss in her capacity as a Bereavement Doula.
Michele has been a photographer for the last 4 years and is passionate about birth and newborn photography. Over the last several years she has undertaken training in studio lighting and natural lighting as well as training with many well known award winning newborn photographers such as Sandy Puc, Robin Long, Tracy Willis, Maddy Rogers, Shellie Wall and Elli Cassidy.
Michele has over 21 years experience volunteering for local and national charities and other organisations. Her volunteer roles have included roles such as Membership Secretary, Chairperson, Regional Representative, Treasurer and Website Administrator.
Ruth Trotter ~ Mat Co-ordinator
Ruth is a mother of three boys, Rory, Ben and Finlay. She has been steadily growing her knowledge of photography and business over the last few years.
Ruth restarted her business in August 2013 after a period of down time due to family bereavements. She got involved with a remembrance organisation which was based overseas after her last child was born seven weeks early. Although she now has a healthy child, she knows that without medical intervention he wouldn’t be here. Her lasting image would have been a polaroid picture.
Ruth has completed a trial with the largest teaching hospital in the Europe –Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. The trial started in May 2013 and it has been very successful. She has provided keepsake images for 18 families to date.
Ruth has been interested in photography for as long as she can remember and did Media Studies at college then went onto doing an HND in Photography. Although she didn’t use her photography back then it’s come in handy since although has continued to seek training from some big names in the industry.. Damian McGillicuddy, John Denton, Faye and Trevor Yerbury to name just a few! Ruth holds her Licentiate with the SWPP and in time hopes to put together a panel for her Associate. She has received a number of Golds, Silvers, Highly Commended and an International Award of a Merit from the SWPP. In September she was awarded a Highly Commended award by The National Photographic Society.. 400 entries – 3 Golds and 11 HC.
Heidi Fuentes ~ Web Administrator
Heidi lives in North Yorkshire and is married with 2 young children.
Although she has never lost a child, she has experienced her fair share of loss and having two healthy boys she has never taken that for granted…she knows that life is delicate and everything can change in a heartbeat, that it can leave you reeling with no idea what to do next or where to turn. For this reason she feels very strongly about RMB and supporting it in whatever capacity she can.
Heidi was the Managing Director of a Marketing company promoting various children’s charities up until 2004 when she decided she wanted to become more involved and began working as a support worker for a teenager with Asperger’s. In 2007 after seeing the boy she looked after successfully enroll in college she moved to the US and began working as a newborn photographer, moving back to the UK in 2012.
Anna has been a photographer for over 20 years, running her studio in Surrey photographing weddings and portraits. She is a mother to two beautiful children aged 10 and 13 years, with another baby boy expected to arrive in December 2014.
She has experience of being a remembrance photographer since 2006.
Anna-Marina has held a number of training sessions in Middlesex and Surrey that were well attended with photographers based around the UK, and has attended London and Surrey hospitals to reach out to medical staff and hold training session to midwifes.
Anna-Marina is looking forward to offering her services and skills to new and existing photographers, parents who, like her, are passionate about offering their photography services and skills to assist parents free of charge in early infant bereavement.