Distraught Northern Ireland mum in plea over tragic daughter's precious lost 'Matilda doll'
A heartbroken mother from Northern Ireland has made a desperate plea for help after a doll belonging to her late baby daughter was lost during a day trip to Dublin Zoo.
The toy was given to Matilda Gray shortly after she was born in July 2013, and was vital for mum Claire as she dealt with her infant's death just three months later.
But last week, on a trip to the zoo in the city's Phoenix Park, Claire unknowingly dropped the doll. She has now issued an appeal for help locating it.
Speaking from her home in Newtownards, Ms Gray said: "I am absolutely devastated, I feel like we've lost a piece of Matilda."
She explained that Matilda was her first child, but shortly after her birth the baby was diagnosed with Edward's syndrome.
"My little baby daughter Matilda grew her angel wings in 2013 aged three months. She was given a gorgeous little dolly with her name on it when she was born," she explained.
"We call her 'Matilda doll'. Matilda touched this doll. It was the same size as her and is so hugely precious to us.
"I've cuddled Matilda doll to sleep every night since Matilda passed away. She even came to hospital with me when Matilda's baby brother Archie was born. She comes with us as a way of Matilda being with us for family photos, which are so painful after losing your child as she is always missing.
"She comes with us for all Matilda's little brother Archie's 'firsts' such as first time at Santa. On Monday, May 30 it was Archie's first time at the Dublin Zoo so, of course, we brought Matilda doll too as Matilda never actually got to go to the zoo, which breaks my heart."
Claire explained that they were in the zoo on Monday and somewhere between the zoo shop, gate and Lord's Walk car park 'Matilda doll' went missing.
She explained how the loss had devastated her. "She means more than words can express. For us she is a piece of our little Matilda. I feel so stupid for losing her and very distressed. Please, please, please help me to get her back home," she said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Claire on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/claire.gray.9