The Crown and Nativity star Jason Watkins has paid tribute to his late daughter, who died 12 years ago after contracting sepsis.
His two-year-old daughter Maude tragically died on New Year’s Day 2011 – a sad milestone the family mark each year with a walk to Hampstead Heath in London, where there is a bench in her memory.
However, little Maude was later found by her older sister Bessie, aged four at the time, who was unable to wake her.
In a poignant post on Twitter to mark the anniversary of her death this year, Watkins wrote: “Each anniversary hurts. Each year so different. Another year, without our Maude. Our time together can feel like a dream, cruel, just out of reach. But look closely, she is smiling. She brought joy-and if we are brave enough, she still does.”
The family have now taken part in a documentary about Maude, which is due for release later this year, with the hope that this will help channel their grief into something that may help others.
Speaking to the Mirror, Watkins said: “It is all about offering comfort and context to families suffering like ours, and for information on sepsis.
“There’s a golden hour you have to jump on, you have to keep asking, ‘is it sepsis?’
“If any symptoms are present, and you feel they are even if they aren’t – ask. Hopefully we can make a difference.”
At one point, we see him visit an A&E department – a moment he found particularly hard to film.
“A lot of the difficulties with sepsis diagnosis in children are sadly down to money,” Watkins said.
“The skills and expertise are there in the NHS, it’s funding it which is difficult. The Government needs to step up and place money where it’s needed.”
Ever since her passing, Watkins has been sure to honour Maude whenever he can, saying he and his wife regularly ‘share messages on social media’, not to just express how they are feeling, but also to share information about sepsis – and help others.
In 2015, when he won a BAFTA TV award for Best Actor for his role as Christopher Jeffries – the teacher who was questioned over the murder of Joanna Yeates – in The Lost Honour, Watkins dedicated the accolade to his daughter.
“At the heart of it, someone has lost their daughter and I understand what that is. All my efforts in doing it were fuelled by a sense of grief,” he said.
He explained how Maude has also been at the forefront of his mind while recently filming Channel 5 thriller The Catch, in which he plays a Cornish fisherman and bereaved father.
“It was the longest I’ve been away filming,” he continued.
“Although The Catch isn’t just about loss, for me it was and certainly for my character, so because of the material it was difficult not to go home. I missed my family dreadfully.”
The NHS advises calling 999 or going to A&E if a baby or young child has any of the following symptoms of sepsis:
- blue, pale or blotchy skin, lips or tongue – on brown or black skin, blueness may be easier to see on the lips, tongue or gums, under the nails or around the eyes
- a rash that does not fade when you roll a glass over it, the same as meningitis
- difficulty breathing (you may notice grunting noises or their stomach sucking under their ribcage), breathlessness or breathing very fast
- a weak, high-pitched cry that's not like their normal cry
- not responding like they normally do, or not interested in feeding or normal activities
- being sleepier than normal or difficult to wake
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