By Joshua Robinson –
Forget Me Not dad Colin Harwood is set to collect a limited edition suit featuring a tribute to his daughter Shalome, on Wednesday, 30th August 2023.
Antich Fine English Tailors, the UK’s only weave-to-wear fine tailor, based in Huddersfield, have found a unique way to support their local children’s hospice.
One of the first customers for their special line of Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice suits has its own personal experience of support and care from the Huddersfield-based charity.
Colin Harwood, 38, from Fixby in Huddersfield, has supported Forget Me Not since 2015, when he and his wife, Emma Jayne, contacted the hospice during EJ’s second pregnancy. They had been told at their 20-week scan that their baby Shalome had severe brain abnormalities which might make her “incompatible with life”.
The perinatal and neonatal care team at Forget Me Not helped the family prepare for whatever lay ahead, putting together care plans based on all possible outcomes. When the time came for Shalome to be born, the family were told at the hospital that she was not expected to live more than a couple of hours and so they took her to the hospice to spend what they thought would be their last few hours with her.
It turned out Shalome had other plans and she survived those first weeks and lived until she was 4 years old.
Shalome’s name and birth have been embroidered by Antich Fine English Tailors into the internal left side chest panel of Colin’s Forget Me Not suit (as seen below).
Colin’s wife Emma Jayne, who is buying the suit as an early 40th birthday present for Colin, said: “Right from our first engagement with Forget Me Not, the whole place was absolutely fantastic, they really gave us hope. What was so amazing was that, instead of being tiptoed around and treated with kid gloves like we were at the hospital, at Forget Me Not we were embraced and treated like normal expectant parents with something positive to look forward to. We began to prepare to celebrate our baby’s life, however long that might be. It was like the difference between doom and gloom, a grey sky, and entering a world in technicolour.”
“Shalome’s arrival was a real cause for celebration at the hospice. And that meant, and still means, so much to us. Shalome was born quadriplegic, it was touch and go at the start, and we spent a week at the hospice doing a mixture of memory making and learning how to care for Shalome’s needs. The whole family was able to stay including Shalome’s older sister Faith, who was 18 months old at the time. We were able to invite our family and friends to come and join us at the hospice, making music to Shalome’s heartbeat and hosting family gatherings – we had 20 people there one day!”
EJ added: “Throughout Shalome’s life, Forget Me Not were there for our whole family, with respite care, complementary therapy, support for Shalome’s older sister Faith, support during my pregnancy with Shalome’s younger brother Caleb and events and activities, like Christmas parties, Eid celebrations and family music days. They were there for us at the end of her life, the whole family came and stayed with her at the hospice in her final days, and they have been there for us in the months and years after. We have so much to thank Forget Me Not for, we grab every chance we can to help.”
The suit is part of a limited-edition range specially created by Antich Fine English Tailors to raise funds for the hospice’s vital services. Each of the 26 suits, woven, designed, produced and tailored on-site, will raise £200 for Forget Me Not and features the hospice’s distinctive purple colours through the internal lining, the under collar melton with the embroidered Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice logo and includes a Forget Me Not lapel pin.
In addition, Colin’s suit has been embroidered with a tribute to his beloved daughter Shalome, who died, aged 4, in December 2019.
Colin and his wife EJ will be at Antich Fine English Tailors for his final suit fitting on Wednesday, August 30th, at 10 am.
Samantha Steer, Retail Brand Development Manager at Antich Fine English Tailors, said: “The idea to create something special for Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice was dreamt up some 12 months ago. David Antich, our MD, has instilled a core value to ensure the business remains community-focused, from educational outreach to employing local talent. With this in mind, I looked at things we could do as a local business with our production and technical capabilities to do good and potentially raise funds and awareness for local charities close to our hearts. Forget Me Not was our first choice.”
“A chance meeting with a representative from Forget Me Not coming into the store lead me to share my idea of creating a charity suit, it was met with enthusiasm with a hint of intrigue, and I was subsequently invited up to the hospice to visit. Whilst there, Georgia Lane, their Regional Fundraising Manager, showed myself and my colleague around the facilities and shared stories of the amazing work they do, the problems they faced during Covid and, the funding they need to continue their exceptional support. One of the stories she shared was unbeknownst to me; Shalome’s. This further drove me to ensure we did something very special.”
Samantha Steer added: “Cut to present day, we have developed and designed a range of beautiful light grey suits, featuring Forget Me Not’s signature colour and logo, with specially woven cloth for this occasion, complete with personalised selvage designed by my fellow colleague, Stacey. A total of 26 suits will be made from the fabric we wove in-house and made by our talented production team to raise funds for this amazing cause and jewel in Huddersfield crown. As coincidence would have it, one of these suits will now be worn by Colin Harwood, from the Forget Me Not family that I’d heard about on my visit to the hospice back in December ‘22. After an unplanned drop-in to store one day and seeing our first suit fresh out of production, Colin and his wife EJ, added a few personal tweaks with the help of our Retail Manager, Stacey, and created Colin’s very own Forget Me Not suit complete with a dedication to Shalome.”
“Antich Fine English Tailors are very proud to be able to create something so unique here in Huddersfield, not just for a very special Huddersfield charity but for a wonderful family too.”
Colin Harwood said: “I was away for a weekend with a friend and we just called in to the shop so he could drop off a suit he had hired and I saw the Forget Me Not suit. Of course, anything with Forget Me Not on it has a special meaning for me, I told them about Shalome and how touched I was that they were making the limited-edition suits.”
“I started my own business in 2019 and am always going to client meetings so I need a smart suit. People do comment on a nice suit and it’s lovely that I can have a dedication to Shalome embroidered into it. Hopefully, the suit will be a bit of a conversation starter and I can do a bit more to spread the word about the great work they do at Forget Me Not. I think a lot of people don’t realise how privileged we are to have a community asset like Forget Me Not on our doorstep.”
Georgia Lane, Regional Fundraising Manager at Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice, said: “I love the way Antich Fine English Tailors have found their own unique way to help Forget Me Not. Their high quality, lovingly crafted suits are a lasting tribute to our very special service, all created within a couple of miles of the hospice. The suits will be a talking point at business and social events where people wear them for many years to come, which is great for us as a charity but is also a lovely way to ensure our children and families are remembered, celebrated and valued in the wider community.”
For more information about Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice, visit https://www.forgetmenotchild.co.uk/
For information about Antich Fine English Tailors, see https://antichfinetailors.co.uk/