Voluntary work leads to a new challenge

SANDS operations manager Nicola Welsh
SANDS operations manager Nicola Welsh

A West Lothian woman who suffered the ultimate in tragedies - the loss of a baby - has turned her voluntary work into a new career.

Nicola Welsh, whose son Theo was born with the rare condition exomphalos in December 2008 sadly only lived for three weeks.

Nicola, who worked as a principal teacher in West Lothian schools supporting children with social, emotional and behavioural needs turned to the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (SANDS) for help.

The group, which, at that time, was based in Edinburgh provided emotional support and Nicola, who was so appreciative, decided to give something back by agreeing to act as a voluntary co-ordinator in West Lothian.

And, as she has been so succesful in that role, Nicola has now been appointed to the full-time position of operations manager.

Nicola said: “I am passionate about supporting bereaved families and look forward to continuing the excellent support SANDS Lothians provides to Edinburgh and the Lothians.”

In a further tragic twist, Nicola’s dad, Bo’ness born Jim Dickson died suddenly on December 17.

The funeral, which took place at Zetland Church had a retiring offering which raised the sum of £1270 which will be put to good use.

Nicola said: “Dad knew about my new job before dying and was proud I was following my heart.

‘‘I am hoping to use that money for a project as a nice legacy in his memory.”