MORE than 100 friends and family helped to raise thousands of pounds in memory of a baby girl who died aged just 12 weeks.

Katie and Ian Picken, from Great Bentley, were left devastated when their daughter Seren died after being diagnosed with a rare mitochondria disorder in December.

The disorder prevented Seren from breaking down her food, which stopped proteins from being turned into energy. She died just 24 hours after being diagnosed.

Ian and Katie were able to stay close to Seren while she was at Addenbrooke’s Hospital after being put up by the Sick Children’s Trust at its Acorn House.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: LOVING PARENTS: Katie and Ian Picken, from Great Bentley, with daughter Seren

Loving parents - Katie and Ian Picken, from Great Bentley, with daughter Seren

The brave couple launched a campaign to raise £5,500 for the charity – covering the cost of a family room for six months – so other parents can stay close to their children in the hospital.

They said thanks to people’s generosity, they have already smashed the target - and upped the goal to £8,200 to sponsor the room for nine months.

As part of the effort, a seven-mile sponsored walk took place from Walton to Clacton Pier.

Ian said: “It was an emotional day to say the least, but the unbelievable support of our family, friends and colleagues has once again overwhelmed us.

“More than 100 people turned out to walk with us and support Seren and The Sick Children’s Trust.

“We want to say a massive thank you to all who gave their time and helped collect sponsorship.

“Our Just Giving page is up to £8,042 and we haven’t added others to that total yet.”

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Little Seren Picken was diagnosed with a rare mitochondria disorder

Katie added: “Since losing our beautiful Seren, things I previously took for granted became mountains.

“Losing a child is the hardest thing you’ll ever have to face, but the psychological struggles that come in the aftermath can also seem unbearable at times. While walking the seven mile pier-to-pier walk wasn’t much of a physical challenge for me, psychologically it was.

“Thanks to the friends by our sides, we completed the walk in one piece.

“The Sick Children’s Trust is a fantastic charity - the support they give to mums, dads and families like ours is invaluable and they deserve every penny they get.”

Katie said the couple now hope to raise enough money to fund the room at Acorn House for a whole year.

Ian and 13 other riders are also in training for a 320-mile bike ride from Aberystwyth Pier to Clacton Pier to raise even more for the charity.

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