Jason Watkins and wife Clara share memories of their beloved daughter Maude in moving documentary

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Clutching a pair of tiny red shoes, Jason and Clara Watkins undertake an unimaginably harrowing task.

In heartbreaking scenes from their new ITV documentary, In Loving memory of Maudie, the couple sifted through their daughter’s belongings for the first time since her death in 2011.

Maude died, aged two, from sepsis on New Year’s Day after doctors sent her home with what they thought was croup.

She was discovered in her bed the following morning by Jason and Clara after their eldest daughter Bessie told them she couldn’t wake her sister.

Emma, a close friend of the couple, packed up Maude’s clothes and toys and stored them in her loft.

Memories: In heartbreaking scenes from their ITV documentary which aired on Thursday Jason and Clara Watkins sifted through their daughter Maud's belongings for the first time since her death in 2011

Memories: In heartbreaking scenes from their ITV documentary which aired on Thursday Jason and Clara Watkins sifted through their daughter Maud’s belongings for the first time since her death in 2011 

Tragic: The actor, 60, and his wife lost their daughter when she was just two years old in 2011 after she went undiagnosed with sepsis while suffering from flu

Tragic: The actor, 60, and his wife lost their daughter when she was just two years old in 2011 after she went undiagnosed with sepsis while suffering from flu

Death: Jason found Maude, who had been suffering from flu, dead in bed on New Year's Day. Despite two hospital visits, her flu symptoms masked the sepsis and she went undiagnosed

Death: Jason found Maude, who had been suffering from flu, dead in bed on New Year’s Day. Despite two hospital visits, her flu symptoms masked the sepsis and she went undiagnosed

‘I found it very difficult to go in to Maude’s bedroom and just see all her stuff as if she were still going to come in,’ Clara said in the documentary which aired on Thursday night. 

‘So Emma took it all out and Emma has been looking after it in her loft for 11 years.

‘Weirdly as time has gone on those things have taken on value to me and I think if we’d got rid of them immediately it wouldn’t be a problem, but because they’ve been there, they’ve taken on a significance and now I feel compelled to go through them.’

Clara, a fashion designer, broke down in tears as she unzipped a bag containing a pair of her daughter’s ‘little shoes’, while Jason picked out a Peter Rabbit toy.

‘I don’t know if I can do it,’ Clara said. ‘What are we going to gain from it? Are you wanting to keep stuff?

‘There’s a part of me that wants to put my hand in the bag and just grab something and try to get used to it, just to try to make myself keep them.’

Jason, who won a Bafta for The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, said: ‘The fact that it’s so physical, it’s such a physical thing. It’s the closest you can get to having her with us.’

The couple allowed cameras to document their journey as they prepare to move out of the flat where their daughter was born, and later died.

Scenes, which were interspersed with photos and home videos of Maude, showed them attending therapy for the first time together, with Clara revealing she can still feel the weight of her daughter from the car journey to hospital.

They were also seen comforting their son Gilbert, 11, who got tearful while visiting a bench in memory of the sister he never knew.

The couple have campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness for sepsis, with Jason attending a ground breaking training programme at Kings College Hospital which attempts to teach medical professionals how to detect signs.

Visiting the morgue and coroners court, Jason said: ‘This is the most difficult bit. I have this thing about her being on her own when she left the house in that black ambulance and she was taken here.

Opening up: Jason said he hopes the documentary can help other people while Clara said she wants to 'break the taboo' of child loss

Opening up: Jason said he hopes the documentary can help other people while Clara said she wants to ‘break the taboo’ of child loss

'I don't know if I can do it,' Clara said of going through Maude's belongings for the first time. 'What are we going to gain from it? Are you wanting to keep stuff?

‘I don’t know if I can do it,’ Clara said of going through Maude’s belongings for the first time. ‘What are we going to gain from it? Are you wanting to keep stuff?

Upsetting: The couple allowed cameras to document their journey as they prepare to move out of the flat where their daughter was born, and later died

Upsetting: The couple allowed cameras to document their journey as they prepare to move out of the flat where their daughter was born, and later died

Grief: Clara, a fashion designer, broke down in tears as she unzipped a bag containing a pair of her daughter's 'little shoes', while Jason picked out a Peter Rabbit toy

Grief: Clara, a fashion designer, broke down in tears as she unzipped a bag containing a pair of her daughter’s ‘little shoes’, while Jason picked out a Peter Rabbit toy

‘I know it seems macabre but by sharing it maybe it unburdens me a bit or it’s sort of saying she existed, she was alive not just wherever she is now.’ 

He added: ‘Obviously it was missed. There’s a bit of anger there obviously… I know that irrationally I’m doing this because if I crack it and no more children die, which is ridiculous because they will sadly and that I fully understand the condition that is sepsis, that Maude will come back walk into the room, I’ve got it I’ve cracked it this is what we need to do and she’ll come back into the room… but that’s irrational and that will never stop.’ 

The family visited a bench dedicated to Maude, with Jason saying: ‘Not a single day goes by when we don’t think about Maude and there is one special place we visit to remember her. 

‘I like going to the bench with the family and I like going on my own as well. I don’t necessarily cry there but I do like that because I feel close to her and all those things.

‘Gilbert always chirps up and asks ‘am I Maude’s substitute am I a replacement for Maude?’ He’s not stupid. I say ‘Of course you’re not you’re your own person thank god you saved us’. He is a bit of a saviour in that respect because he came along. 

‘And for Bessie she also saved us she was just so strong. She was there and suddenly her sister wasn’t there.’

Clara and Jason meet with a group of parents who have all lost a child, as they talk about their loss.

Clara said: ‘My drive throughout my grief was always to offer hope because I think without hope I just don’t know if there is a future for somebody after the loss of a child. You have to know life is going to get better.’

The couple are also seen going to therapy for the first time together, meeting psychotherapist Julia Samuels.

Clara said: ‘I haven’t really thought about this car journey in such depth. I can really just feel the weight of her on my lap.

‘When I think of the sort of trauma and when people talk of the trauma I sort of think ‘oh that will be the day that we found her dead’ but actually going through that car journey I hadn’t really done it. 

‘I do feel if I had been a different sort of person I could have said, ‘No I want you to keep her in tonight’.’

Jason admitted: ‘I can still feel me breathing trying to breathe my breath in to her and it not working. Then I went downstairs.’

Clara reveals she was watching this happen, but Jason had forgotten and thought she was downstairs with Bessie.

Memories: The family visited a bench dedicated to Maude, with Jason saying: 'Not a single day goes by when we don't think about Maude and there is one special place we visit'

Memories: The family visited a bench dedicated to Maude, with Jason saying: ‘Not a single day goes by when we don’t think about Maude and there is one special place we visit’

Son: 'Gilbert always chirps up and asks 'am I Maude's substitute am I a replacement for Maude?' Jason revealed, referring to the couple's son, 10

Son: ‘Gilbert always chirps up and asks ‘am I Maude’s substitute am I a replacement for Maude?’ Jason revealed, referring to the couple’s son, 10

Siblings: Jason explained that Maude's older sister Bessie, who was just three years-old when her sibling died, found it too hard to talk on the programme

Siblings: Jason explained that Maude’s older sister Bessie, who was just three years-old when her sibling died, found it too hard to talk on the programme

Jason added: ‘The worst bit for me was her being alone on the journey from the mortuary to the post mortem. That bit haunts me.’  

‘Talking to Julia has been a revelation… I realise just how strong Clara has been. Maybe I have bottled up my grief and maybe that’s a typical male response.’ 

Jason said it finally feels like the right time to share Maude’s story as they are moving away from the home where their late daughter was both born and died.

He admitted that he still finds her death ‘difficult to talk about’ and said he felt ‘apprehensive’ about filming the documentary but hopes it can help others.

A very emotional looking Jason said: ‘It’s still difficult to talk about.’

While his wife Clara explained: ‘This is where Maude was born, I had her at home and it’s also where she died. Even after 11 years, you know, it’s still sort of shocking.’

Jason said he hopes the documentary can help other people while Clara said she wants to ‘break the taboo’ of child loss.

Jason admitted: ‘I do feel apprehensive because you think it’s a delicate thing and are you doing the right thing. But it does feel something to be shared and it can help us and other people.’

While Clara added: ‘It’s about breaking down the taboo of child loss. It’s so grim and unspeakable, people don’t know what to say, people don’t know how to act around you, but also I want to talk about her. People will know that she was here.’

Special place: 'I like going to the bench with the family and I like going on my own as well. I don't necessarily cry there but I do like that because I feel close to her' Jason said

Special place: ‘I like going to the bench with the family and I like going on my own as well. I don’t necessarily cry there but I do like that because I feel close to her’ Jason said 

Changes:  Jason said it finally feels like the right time to share Maude's story as they are moving away from the home where their late daughter was both born and died (pictured)

Changes:  Jason said it finally feels like the right time to share Maude’s story as they are moving away from the home where their late daughter was both born and died (pictured)

Difficult times: He admitted that he still finds her death 'difficult to talk about' and said he felt 'apprehensive' about filming the documentary but hopes it can help others

Difficult times: He admitted that he still finds her death ‘difficult to talk about’ and said he felt ‘apprehensive’ about filming the documentary but hopes it can help others

Mother: Clara explained: 'This is where Maude was born, I had her at home and it's also where she died. Even after 11 years, you know, it's still sort of shocking'

Mother: Clara explained: ‘This is where Maude was born, I had her at home and it’s also where she died. Even after 11 years, you know, it’s still sort of shocking’

Jason found Maude, who had been suffering from flu, dead in her bed on New Year’s Day morning. Despite two hospital visits, her flu symptoms masked the sepsis and she went undiagnosed.

Sepsis, known as the ‘silent killer’, strikes when an infection such as blood poisoning sparks a violent immune response in which the body attacks its own organs. 

If caught early enough, it’s easily treated with intravenous antibiotics and fluids, but these must be given as soon as sepsis is suspected – it strikes with frightening speed and, for every hour of delay, a patient’s chance of dying increases 8 per cent. 

Ahead of the release of the documentary, the couple spoke to Giovanna Fletcher on her Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast about the loss of their child and said it was ‘avoidable’.

Discussing Maude’s death, Clara said: ‘I’ve always felt with Maude, she was just unlucky. You know, another child may have gone to A&E and they’ve had a consultant there who has gone ‘I think this could be sepsis’ and their child is alive.

‘I think it’s important to say, some parents are listened to. I do believe it to be luck. (…) That makes it so much more painful to me because this is a death that could have been avoided. (…) 

‘To know that your child could potentially be a 14-year-old girl going out having a really fabulous life when it didn’t happen for her is particularly difficult. (…) Why didn’t I scream at shout at the hospital and demand they keep her there? (…) I failed at the thing I was supposed to be doing, I was supposed to keep her alive.’

Heartbreaking: The couple keep Maude's red shoes on the mantlepiece, 11 years after her death

Heartbreaking: The couple keep Maude’s red shoes on the mantlepiece, 11 years after her death

Family: Discussing Maude's death, Clara said: 'I've always felt with Maude, she was just unlucky (Clara in a family photograph with Maude and eldest daughter Bessie)

Family: Discussing Maude’s death, Clara said: ‘I’ve always felt with Maude, she was just unlucky (Clara in a family photograph with Maude and eldest daughter Bessie)

Sudden: 'I think it's important to say, some parents are listened to. I do believe it to be luck. That makes it so much more painful to me because this is a death that could have been avoided,' Clara said

Sudden: ‘I think it’s important to say, some parents are listened to. I do believe it to be luck. That makes it so much more painful to me because this is a death that could have been avoided,’ Clara said

Tribute: Clara shared her tattoo in the documentary, which she got shortly after her daughter's death

Tribute: Clara shared her tattoo in the documentary, which she got shortly after her daughter’s death 

Clara said in the wake of the death of Maude they both attended therapy separately and later realised they both remember the day of her death ‘completely differently’.

Clara said: ‘Maude died (…) in that night between new year’s eve and new year’s day. And, I remember the Christmas before, so it would have been 2 weeks before, my grandmother was still alive, and we were at my mums. I remember videoing the girls (…) cooking in the kitchen with my grandma. 

‘And I remembering thinking ‘I’m going to look back on this one day, because my grandmother isn’t going to be here anymore’ And then I remember when Maude died thinking, you were the one that was supposed to die not Maude and being quite cross about it. 

‘Of course, nobody should be dying, but you know she was 93 and she was still alive, and she even said to me ‘it should’ve been me’ and I think I probably said ‘yes, it should’ve been you, because you’re 93.’

‘I remember feeling a deep shame after Maude died (…) that I had not savoured every single second of it. But of course, I know in my logical mind that’s ridiculous. Because nobody thinks their child is going to die.’

Jason said: ‘And you expect that it’s going to keep happening. (…) Because you expect there are going to be several, many a lifetime full of (special moments), but of course in our case there wasn’t.’

Jason admitted that he still ‘blames himself’ over the death of his daughter Maude from Sepsis. 

Speaking on Thursday’s Good Morning Britain ahead of the documentary, Jason told how he still feels somewhat responsible as he was the one who brought Maude home from the hospital a second time.

While Clara expressed her regret that the couple had been ‘so accepting’ of the doctor’s initially diagnosis of Croup, wishing they’d been more ‘demanding’ that Maude stay in hospital at that time. 

Guilt: Jason has admitted that he still 'blames himself' over the death of his daughter (the couple are pictured on GMB on Thursday morning)

Guilt: Jason has admitted that he still ‘blames himself’ over the death of his daughter (the couple are pictured on GMB on Thursday morning)

Loss: Speaking on Good Morning Britain ahead of the documentary, Jason told how he still feels somewhat responsible as he was the one who brought Maude home from the hospital

Loss: Speaking on Good Morning Britain ahead of the documentary, Jason told how he still feels somewhat responsible as he was the one who brought Maude home from the hospital 

Shocking: Clara expressed her regret that the couple had been 'so accepting' of the doctor's initially diagnosis of Croup, wishing they'd been more 'demanding'

Shocking: Clara expressed her regret that the couple had been ‘so accepting’ of the doctor’s initially diagnosis of Croup, wishing they’d been more ‘demanding’

Joining Susanna Reid and Adil Ray on the ITV show, the grieving couple opened up about their child’s passing, admitting that her death could have been avoided, while Clara admitted that she’s never even heard of Sepsis before her daughter contracted it. 

On whether they had any advice for parents who suspected their own child of suffering with the condition, Jason shared: ‘It’s hard for us as parents, that’s one of the painful things, ‘Did we do everything we could have?’

‘It’s easy to blame yourself and I still do because I was there when she was discharged the second time.’ 

Clara then added: ‘We always will because it’s that instinct thing, ‘If I had just been more… demanded and stuck with my instinct she was seriously ill and not been so accepting.’

During the chat, Susanna said: ‘Any parent, anyone will feel that viscerally, that attempt not to lose your daughter. 

‘I suppose what is so tragic about this is the signs of sepsis should be spotted but aren’t because it is very hard to spot them and that’s what led to Maudie’s death.’

To which Clara replied: ‘I’d not even heard of sepsis before Maude died. I had heard of septicaemia but not sepsis and they are different and it’s not like meningitis which is easier to spot – you’ll have very clear signs.

‘It is more insidious. but when you do know the signs, when you do know what you’re looking for then you know. So it’s important to learn what they are.’

Difficult: Jason said: 'I can still feel me breathing trying to breathe my breath in to her and it not working. Then I went downstairs'

Difficult: Jason said: ‘I can still feel me breathing trying to breathe my breath in to her and it not working. Then I went downstairs’

Grief: 'To know that your child could potentially be a 14-year-old girl going out having a really fabulous life when it didn't happen for her is particularly difficult,' Clara said

Grief: ‘To know that your child could potentially be a 14-year-old girl going out having a really fabulous life when it didn’t happen for her is particularly difficult,’ Clara said 

On the symptoms being so difficult to spot, Jason added: ‘Those symptoms often hide behind presenting symptoms. So it might be a cold or chest infection that the sepsis is lurking underneath.

‘So one has to ask, ‘Could it be sepsis?’ We have to rule this out first and then look at those presenting symptoms.

‘It is a very complicated, infant A&E is very is complicated.’

As Adil then told that in Maude’s case she had visited hospital and had been checked over by medics, Clara said: ‘You thought, oh she’s okay and she went to bed like any other child would and it was in the morning you discovered something wasn’t right.

‘We took her to the hospital, to A&E, two days in a row and both times were sent home because both times they misdiagnosed her and said she had croup.’

The mum, who also has daughter Bessie and son Gilbert with the actor, then told how despite her ‘instincts’ telling her otherwise, she felt ‘reassured’ by doctors when they said her daughter would be fine.

She continued: ‘I believe sepsis is a secondary illness so she had flu and she had a rasping cough and we were very reassured, we went to the hospital and were sent home twice and I think at that stage before your child dies, you believe what you’re told when a doctor tells you.

‘I was incredibly reassured because my instinct was she’s really not well but if they’re telling me she’s okay and sending her home and haven’t asked to keep her overnight then it’s fine.’

Sudden loss: On the symptoms being so difficult to spot, Jason added: 'Those symptoms often hide behind presenting symptoms'

Sudden loss: On the symptoms being so difficult to spot, Jason added: ‘Those symptoms often hide behind presenting symptoms’

The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies star Jason then added: ‘Going back the second time when we drove Maudie to the hospital for the second time, she was having breathing difficulties and those are the things that are classic symptoms of sepsis, where your child is fighting for breath and her eyes were rolling into her head.

‘When we came into the A&E department, I wanted to say to all the healthcare professionals, ‘Did you not see what she was like when she came in?”

The couple now campaign for better awareness of recognising the signs of sepsis.

Jason and jewellery and fashion designer Clara tied the knot back in 2014. As well as their late daughter Maude, they also share daughter Bessie and son Gilbert.

Jason was previously married to actress Caroline Harding and they share two older children – Freddie and Pip.

The documentary was well-received by fans, who said it was a ‘heartbreaking’ but ‘important’ watch and praised the bravery of Jason and Clara.

One viewer wrote: ‘I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a child. Thinking of @Jason__Watkins & Clara #inmemoryofmaudie a very moving documentary’.

Another echoed: ‘#InMemoryofMaudie is heartbreaking to watch, but it’s so important that awareness of sepsis is raised. Such bravery from Jason and Clara to allow this to be filmed.’

Devastating: The documentary was well-received by fans, who said it was a 'heartbreaking' but 'important' watch and praised the bravery of Jason and Clara

Devastating: The documentary was well-received by fans, who said it was a ‘heartbreaking’ but ‘important’ watch and praised the bravery of Jason and Clara

A third added: ‘Watching ten minutes in & I’m already finding it heartbreaking. #InMemoryofMaudie’.

A fourth said: ‘ I really don’t know how a parent carries on. Just unbearable #InMemoryofMaudie’.

While a fifth tweeted: ‘A beautiful, powerful documentary Jason. You have helped so many already and I feel that with the film, you’ll have helped in those moments so many more.’

And a sixth agreed, writing: ‘Christ this is tough watch. I’ve no idea how you cope with the loss of a child. They are so brave, whilst still drowning in grief, making this to try & raise awareness #InMemoryofMaudie #sepsis’. 

If you need further support or information about bereavement and grief, mental health charity Mind can be contacted via 0300 123 3393. 

What are the key symptoms of sepsis? The ‘silent killer’ that can cause death in minutes

Sepsis, known as the ‘silent killer’, strikes when an infection such as blood poisoning sparks a violent immune response in which the body attacks its own organs. 

It is a potentially life-threatening condition, triggered by an infection or injury.  Around 245,000 people develop sepsis in the UK each year and 52,000 die, according to the UK Sepsis Trust.

Instead of attacking the invading bug, the body turns on itself, shutting down vital organs.

If caught early enough, it’s easily treated with intravenous antibiotics and fluids, but these must be given as soon as sepsis is suspected – it strikes with frightening speed and, for every hour of delay, a patient’s chance of dying increases 8 per cent.

Sepsis is a leading cause of avoidable death killing 44,000 people each year

Sepsis is a leading cause of avoidable death killing 44,000 people each year

The early symptoms of sepsis can be easily confused with more mild conditions, meaning it can be difficult to diagnose. 

A high temperature (fever), chills and shivering, a fast heartbeat and rapid breathing are also indicators. 

A patient can rapidly deteriorate if sepsis is missed early on, so quick diagnosis and treatment is vital – yet this rarely happens. 

In the early stages, sepsis can be mistaken for a chest infection, flu or upset stomach. 

It is most common and dangerous in older adults, pregnant women, children younger than one, people with chronic conditions or those who have weakened immune systems.  

The six signs of something potentially deadly can be identified by the acronym ‘SEPSIS’:

  • Slurred speech or confusion
  • Extreme shivering or muscle pain
  • Passing no urine in a day
  • Severe breathlessness
  • Skin that’s mottled or discoloured  

Anyone who develops any of these symptoms should seek medical help urgently — and ask doctors: ‘Could this be sepsis?’ 



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