Baby Oliver’s first visit to Charlie Gard’s ‘forever bed’: Three years after their heartbreaking battle, tragic infant’s parents take their newborn to his late brother’s graveside
- Connie Yates, 34, and Chris Gard, 36, brought baby Oliver to his brother’s grave
- The couple welcomed their newborn son three years after heartbreaking battle
- Connie said: ‘I was cuddling him and saying, “This is your big brother Charlie”
- Charlie Gard had a rare genetic condition and died in 2017 a week before his first birthday
It was a bittersweet moment for the parents of Charlie Gard.
As they introduced their precious newborn son to Charlie’s final resting place, the poignancy almost overwhelmed them.
Cradling little Oliver Gard, they told him why this tranquil spot is so special to them.
Connie Yates said: ‘I was cuddling him and saying, “This is your big brother Charlie. We’re so sorry you can’t actually meet him, and play with him”. We were just telling Ollie how amazing Charlie was.’
The 34-year-old care worker and her fiance Chris Gard make frequent visits to their first son’s grave.
They sit on a wooden bench they had made and remember his tragically short life.
Connie Yates and Chris Gard bring their newborn son Oliver to his late brother’s grave. Connie said: ‘I was cuddling him and saying, “This is your big brother Charlie.”
Charlie, who had a rare genetic condition, died in 2017 a week before his first birthday after his parents fought an extraordinary legal battle against the medical system to be allowed to try pioneering treatment.
They gained global support including from the Pope and President Donald Trump, but eventually lost their case.
The couple’s cherished second son arrived last month, and to their relief he is completely free of the devastating mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome.
His parents are determined Oliver will not just be ‘Charlie Gard’s brother’, but they do want him to know all about his legacy as they battle to introduce a ‘Charlie’s Law’ to help other families.
Tragic Charlie, who had a rare genetic condition, died in 2017 a week before his first birthday
Oliver, affectionately known as Ollie,vwas born last month on August 5 weighing 8lb 6oz. Mr Gard said: ‘After losing Charlie we don’t take anything for granted. Every noise, every gurgle Ollie makes is so precious to us.’
Postman Mr Gard, 36, said: ‘It is bittersweet because obviously we would have loved them to have met in person, but as Ollie gets to the right age he will certainly find out about his older brother and what a hero he was to us.
‘Ollie will be coming here a lot with us, but when he gets older we’ll combine it with bike rides and picnics and all the fun things we have always longed to do as a family.’
It was while visiting Charlie’s ‘forever bed’ – as they call his resting place – on the anniversary of his birthday last month that Miss Yates went into labour with Oliver.
To the couple’s relief Oliver is completely free of the devastating mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. Pictured: Oliver in the arms of his mother
She said: ‘For so many reasons, this is a sacred place for us, so peaceful among the trees. We’ll never forget Charlie. He should be starting school around now, and it breaks our hearts. But Ollie is such a beautiful light in our lives.’
Mr Gard added: ‘He’s really thriving. He’s a little bruiser, constantly eating, always hungry, and even the crying – we didn’t get to hear Charlie crying for a lot of his life because he was on a ventilator in hospital – so even the crying doesn’t annoy us, it’s music to our ears.
‘We’re just so grateful and privileged. A lot of people take things for granted, but after losing Charlie we don’t take anything for granted. Every noise, every gurgle Ollie makes is so precious to us.
‘We are very lucky to be where we are today.’
The couple, from South-West London, set up the Charlie Gard Foundation to help other families, and are campaigning for Charlie’s Law, which would give parents more involvement in life-and-death decisions if their child is seriously ill.
Newborn Charlie Gard with his parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard. The couple, from South-West London, fought an extraordinary legal battle against the medical system to be allowed to try pioneering treatment