A grieving Dundee dad left devastated by the death of his premature baby son is using football in a bid to support others in the same situation.
Fraser Rennie’s partner Ellie de-Gernier gave birth to their baby boy Jonathon Fraser Rennie through an emergency cesarean at Ninewells on August 16 last year, however he died just three hours later.
Ellie was just 27 weeks pregnant when the emergency delivery was carried out and the pair, from the Hilltown, were heartbroken and devastated by his death.
But when Fraser, 22, sought help he realised that while there seemed to be plenty of support groups for mums he couldn’t find anything to support dads in his situation.
After watching a documentary about a football-based support group for men, the delivery driver decided to form his own team in Dundee.
Fraser said: “I found out about Sands United FC, which uses football to help create a peer support group for men affected by stillbirth and neonatal death.
“Working with Sands I have started a Dundee team and I’m now looking for other men to join and hopefully play charity matches in the future.”
For Fraser the pain of losing his son continues to be raw but he believes it’s important to show people they are not alone when they experience a similar tragedy.
He added: “He was alive for three hours and when we lost him – it was heartbreaking.
“After losing him I didn’t know where to turn and who to speak to so by setting up this team I wanted to give other men the opportunity to speak out who feel they have no one to speak to.”
Fraser added: “I want to spread the word to other bereaved men who have lost a baby whether it be fathers, grandfathers, uncles or brothers. The group uses football to get men speaking and bring them together to show they are not alone at this horrid time.”
Fraser said that it often wasn’t easy for many men to talk about their feelings at such a difficult time, but he believed that by using football the men could come together and talk more openly about their loss.
“It will give people a chance to open up and speak. We are the only second team in Scotland to have a team so want to help the men of Dundee as much as possible,” he added.
“The whole perception of men is to not speak about their feelings, I want to break that mental health barrier that it’s okay not to be okay. It’s okay to be upset. It’s okay to cry.”
The group is not concerned about ability and is more focused on getting men together to discuss what they have been through.
The players also commemorate their babies’ all too brief lives by proudly displaying their names on their home and away shirts.
Fraser said that so far the team had five members and they were keen to recruit more men as quickly as possible.
Anyone who wants to contact the team can get in touch via the “Sands United FC Dundee” Facebook page, the Twitter page @SUFC_Dundee, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org