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Former Nottingham Forest and Celtic player Kris Commons and wife use their wedding to fund grief and growth retreats to help people who have lost a loved one





A former Nottingham Forest footballer and his wife asked their wedding guests to donate money to help fund retreats to help others who – like them – have lost a child.

Kris Commons and Lisa Hague, who live in Kelham, tied the knot this summer in Chesterfield after a 22-year engagement.

The family had a stillborn baby, Lola, on February 1, 2008, and have since been helping others who have gone through a similar experience.

Lisa Hague with husband Kris Commons and children at their wedding
Lisa Hague with husband Kris Commons and children at their wedding

It includes grief and growth retreats in Sherwood Forest, offering a safe space among nature for the bereaved to talk and tell their story.

Kris and Lisa were living in Newark at the time of Lola’s birth because Kris was playing for Nottingham Forest.

Lisa said “We very quickly got thrust into this world of giving birth, giving her a name, there's going to be a funeral and we realised quite quickly that life was never going to be the same again and that we would always have a part of our family missing.

“She was our first-born. We did go on to have April, William and Jack who are nearly 11, 13 and 14.

“It was a happy ending but still doesn't take it away that Lola was our first and that we should have always had one more.”

The couple decided to have a small wedding around the same time Kris celebrated his 40th birthday.

Pillow given to Lisa Hague a year after Lola died which was incorporated in Lisa's bouquet at the couple's wedding
Pillow given to Lisa Hague a year after Lola died which was incorporated in Lisa's bouquet at the couple's wedding

Instead of wedding presents, the couple asked for donations to a Justgiving page, which raised more than £2,000.

Lisa had decided to not have a wedding dress as a way of saving the money towards the cause, however, Anne Priscilla Bridal in Glasgow donated dresses to Lisa and her bridesmaids.

“It’s an amazing gift for us to have money raised in Lola’s name and it will also allow her legacy to live on,” Lisa said.

The money will be used to provide four free spaces for people to the Edwinstowe retreat in February.

Lisa Hague with husband and former Celtic player Kris Commons and children
Lisa Hague with husband and former Celtic player Kris Commons and children

They plan to host another one in Scotland next year.

When the couple moved to Scotland for Kris to play for Celtic in 2011, Lisa made connections with the Scottish charity SIMBA, which works with hospitals to furnish family rooms in maternity units to offer families the opportunity to spend time with their babies.

The charity also provides memory boxes to bereaved parents to help gather timeless and precious memories of their child. There are three different types of boxes, dedicated to miscarriage, mid-term and stillborn.

In 2013, Lisa established The Lola Commons fund for SIMBA, which aims to redecorate and refurbish hospital rooms and provide vital equipment for them including camera equipment, fold-down beds for partners to stay and cuddle cots.

Lisa studied counselling at university and has achieved a diploma in grief and bereavement, a path she embarked on after losing Lola.

“I had not been bereaved before Lola and then I became this person in Glasgow that people would walk up to me and, instead of going to Kris first and talking to him about football, they would come up to me and tell me their story, who they lost and I just became that connection with people, they had that in common with me,” said Lisa.

The couple’s 14-year-old daughter, April said to her mother: “Because we have given out 40,000 memory boxes in Scotland and across the UK in Lola’s memory. For a little girl that never took a breath, she will probably do more in her life than I will ever do in mine.”

Lisa Hague with husband Kris Commons and children at their wedding
Lisa Hague with husband Kris Commons and children at their wedding

The couple held the first retreat in the summer of 2022 and they are dedicated to any sort of loss, from baby loss to family and friends.

Lisa said: “We tried to put something together that I wish I had when Lola had died. It’s not doom and gloom and everybody sat in a big circle just crying, it’s to find the new you.

“When somebody you love dies you change as a person and you start to become a new person and it is about watching people become that new person in front of your eyes. It’s their healing journey and for us to create that space.

“In someone’s memory, you can achieve so much which is part of the healing process.

“People hold a lot of guilt when others pass away and everyone deserves to be happy, we only get one life as we know it on this earth and we all deserve to have a happy and fulfilled life and that is part of what the retreat is about, instilling some self-love back into yourself and realise that you deserve to be happy.”

To find out more or get involved, contact lisa@hagueretreats.co.uk



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