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Yarmouth brothers to run miles for Milo

PUBLISHED: 10:11 30 September 2009 | UPDATED: 15:10 03 July 2010

To believe that your baby is peacefully asleep and then to find they have stopped breathing is the chilling nightmare of any parent.

But for Norfolk teachers Gareth and Gemma Yassin, the unimaginable became tragically real as a desperate drama to save their eight-week-old son Milo unfolded in the very public setting of Norwich's Chapelfield Shopping Centre.

To believe that your baby is peacefully asleep and then to find they have stopped breathing is the chilling nightmare of any parent.

But for Norfolk teachers Gareth and Gemma Yassin, the unimaginable became tragically real as a desperate drama to save their eight-week-old son Milo unfolded in the very public setting of Norwich's Chapelfield Shopping Centre.

Sharing the torment of what should have been a happy family occasion - the switching on of Chapelfield's Christmas lights last November - was Gareth's twin brother Ben and his wife Wendy, who was pregnant at the time.

Ben, 28, a computer software engineer, who works for Positive Publications, in Norwich, recalled that Milo had always been a sleepy baby so, though regularly checking on him, there were no undue concerns about him falling asleep in the car on his way to Norwich and slumbering through the evening.

He said: “Gareth and Gemma had suggested we have a family outing to show Milo's brother Isaac, who is now nearly three, the Christmas lights. We had a meal together at Pizza Hut and it was meant to be a nice start to the Christmas season.

“It was as we were on our way out of the centre to go home that Gareth pulled Milo out of his pushchair and realised he was not breathing, was floppy and was turning a funny colour. When he had checked him 10 minutes earlier he was breathing all right.”

A passer-by and nurses joined the desperate efforts to revive Milo but he was pronounced dead soon after arriving at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

As the anniversary to the tragedy approaches on November 6, Ben, who lives with his wife and six-month-old daughter Ava in Runham, near Yarmouth, and Gareth, a science teacher at Flegg High School, Martham, have vowed to organise a fitting tribute to Milo.

They are putting on a dinner-dance, with three-course meal and entertainment, at The Oaklands Hotel, Thorpe St Andrew, on November 6 with proceeds from the £20 tickets going to The Foundation into the Study of Infant Death.

Gareth, who lives with his wife, a primary school teacher in Bradwell, close to Ben in Repps with Bastwick, has also persuaded his twin to run next year's London Marathon with him for the same charity.

Ben said: “Although we will never forget Milo, we wanted to do something tangible to keep his memory alive. We also wanted to raise money for the charity that carries out research into infant death.

“The overwhelming thing for us was that, despite a post-mortem examination being carried out, no reason for Milo's death could be given at the inquest. Coincidentally, he had just had his first jabs but they said there was no connection.

“It is horrible to hear that there was nothing that you could do. We want to help research to give reasons to why these things happen and to stop them happening.”

He said his brother and sister-in-law had been supported by their close family and hugely helped by having Isaac, who he described as a little character.

The brothers have already started training together for the marathon, on the lanes around Runham, and invite people to sponsor them via their giving page www.justgiving.com/benandgareth

People can obtain tickets for the dinner/dance by emailing benandgareth@gmail.com, ringing 0773 9024573, or calling The Oaklands on 01603-434471. Tables of eights and 10s are available.

Ben thanked BetterFurniture, in Southtown Road, Yarmouth, for supporting their fund-raising with a large donation.

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