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Archie's spirit is always with us; CORRIE KYM ON SON SHE LOST; EXCLUSIVE.

Byline: Antonia Paget

EVERY day Kym Marsh wakes up and the first thing she sets eyes on are the precious mementoes of the child she would never see grow up.

At her bedside there is small box bearing the image of an angel.

Inside are the ashes of her son, who was born 18 weeks premature and died minutes after his arrival.

Prints of his tiny hands and feet are in a frame. Beside them stand a candle and a card with the first letter of his name, Archie.

Coronation Street star Kym says: "I think of Archie every day. I still talk to him to say goodnight or I love you.

"We never got to know what kind of a little boy he was or what he would've liked. What colour would his eyes or his hair have been?

"Would he have liked Thomas the Tank Engine, or going on holiday, or which football team? All I know was that he should have come home with us. So that's what we did.

"We took his ashes home in a tiny box and I keep them next to my bed."

There is an inscription on the box and Kym recites it off by heart.

"Your presence we miss, your memory we treasure, loving you always, forgetting you never," she says.

Loss

The actress lost Archie - her child with ex-partner Jamie Lomas - 21 weeks and five days into her pregnancy in 2009.

Only last year Kym, 41, played out a moving plot on ITV's Corrie which echoed her experience.

Her character Michelle Connor and husband Steve McDonald lost a baby. It was a difficult time for the star, who had to explore the many emotions she has spent nine years coming to terms with.

As she recalls the agony, Kym touches the silver necklace of a baby boy with angel wings that she never takes off.

It was a Mother's Day gift from her children to remind her of Archie.

"It's a wound that will never heal," says the former Hear'Say singer. "There will always be an Archie-shaped hole in our lives.

"Losing a child takes you to a very dark place and you go through many different emotions - grief, denial, anger, the feeling of being alone and guilt for not bringing your baby safely into the world.

"It's not something you get over but you have to come to terms with it, accept what's happened as part of the healing process. Once you've accepted that horrible thing CLOSE: has happened, only then can you start to move forward and rebuild your life."

To commemorate Archie's short life, Kym, who describes herself as "a mother-of-three and one angel" always releases a balloon covered in messages of love on his birthday - and on other special occasions.

On Mother's Day, Christmas and New Year the family spare a moment to think of the life they lost. And as the day that would have been Archie's ninth birthday, February 11, approaches, Kym is planning the biggest memorial of her lost son to date.

On February 10 she is hosting the first Archie's Footprint Ball for child print loss charity The Mariposa Trust. "I've been wanting to do something like this for a long time but I've never found the right time," says Kym, winner of Best Female Dramatic Performance at the 2017 British Soap Awards.

"Losing a child is one of the most difficult things anyone can go through, but you have to find a way to carry on.

"I'm a big believer that out of something bad something good should come too. We are doing this in Archie's memory but with the intent of helping other people in a similar situation."

It will be an emotional event for Kym and her family, including mum Pauline, who also miscarried in her 20s.

But she will have the support of her family, including children David, 22, Emily, 20, and Polly, six - the "miracle child" she gave birth to at 33 weeks following a complicated pregnancy three years after Archie's death.

Jamie, 42, who appeared in Hollyoaks, is Polly's dad. Kym's boyfriend of three years, Matt Baker, will be at her side at the charity ball.

Kym says: "Matt is so supportive and he's always involved in our celebrations of awards Archie." She also firmly believes that Archie will be watching over her on the anniversary of his death.

Kym adds: "He's always present in our lives and he always will be. I feel like he's all around. I don't feel there's ever a time when he's not with us."

She recalls a recent experience when daughter Emily was alone at the family home near Warrington, Cheshire, and the electric toys in Polly's playroom turned themselves on, while the kettle and washing machine also fired up.

Cool

The family believe it is Archie's spirit. Kym says: "None of us were scared by it. It was a comfort, knowing he's around."

The family also felt Archie's presence in 2016 on the anniversary of his death. They heard running upstairs and when Kym went to investigate, she sensed floating orbs. Her children videoed her.

Then, at the precise minute Archie was born, they heard the sound of a baby cry.

Kym sees it as further proof of a connection with Archie.

She can no longer have any more children of her own but she is looking forward to the day she becomes a gran.

"I think I'll be quite a cool grandma. I want to be called 'Lolly', because when my grandchildren come round I'll give them lollipops. I think it's a sweet name."

feedback@people.co.uk

Archie's Footprint Ball is on February 10 at the Hilton Hotel, Manchester.

For tickets see entertainmenttoday.co. uk/kymmarsh.

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CAPTION(S):

CLOSE: Kim with Emily and Polly. Right, at soap awards

TEARS: With Steve and baby in Corrie
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Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Jan 21, 2018
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