Hester is just a little rag doll, with a big heart and big plans to travel the world.
I found Hester at a craft fair in November 2012. I was running a stall at Stockport's Handmade Market. The stall opposite was full of beautiful rag dolls, Hester caught my eye with her red hair and bonnet complete with little ladybird.
I watched her all day, hoping no one would buy her, but also wondering if it was entirely sensible for me to buy her.
I wanted to give her to a lively little three year old girl, but my would be three year old Florence had sadly died when she was just six hours old.
I bought her anyway.
I smiled politely when the maker showed me how Hester's pretty clothes could be taken off easily by little hands, and I tried not to cry.
Hester was taken home and hidden away for Christmas.
A few days before Christmas, Hester was uncovered from her hiding place, but the thought of her never being played with, never being dragged by one arm in the chubby hand of a child, one child in particular was more upsetting than I imagined it would be.
I thought I could keep Hester on a shelf, take her down for a cuddle sometimes....but that's no life for a doll.
I wandered about leaving her wrapped with a note in a library, a park or a shopping centre for a little girl to find, but imaginings of errant dogs and much worse stopped me.
Finally I thought perhaps I could send her travelling, she could be loved by many many children , and maybe at the same time we could raise funds for SANDs, a UK based charity who provide emotional and practical support for those affected by stillbirth and neo natal death, as well as raising awareness and funding research.
I tentatively put my idea to friends on Facebook, and the response was so encouraging that here I am 6am on the last Sunday before Christmas making plans to send Hester off on her travels!
Oh and if you are wondering how Hester got her name, the answer is she is named after Lady Hester Stanhope, a fiesty English explorer.