On behalf of the Sunbeam Support Group, we are delighted to announce that the stunning Sunbeam Gates are now in place to secure the Sunbeam Baby Remembrance Garden at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust. The wrought iron gates were lovingly hand made by Colin Whittaker at Iron by Design in Steeton, based on designs put together by the Sunbeam Group midwives and Sunbeam Group families. The funding for the Sunbeam Gates has been provided by the Sunbeam Support Group, acquired through kind donations from families and many fundraising efforts.
We would like to say an enormous thank you to everyone who has been involved in designing and funding this beautiful entry point to the Garden. Special thank yous from ourselves and many other families go out to Colin Whittaker for his care and attention to detail in making the gates, to Steve Marshall (ANHSFT's Gardener) who has been a source of constant inspiration throughout the planning of the Sunbeam Garden as a whole. We can not thank him enough for his tireless support, guidance and hard work on the Sunbeam Garden project. And a very special thank you to Bev Beaumont (ANHSFT's Bereavement Midwife) for her endless communication with Colin Whittaker, for ensuring that every parent who is part of the Sunbeam Group was able to contribute their ideas to the gates, and for working so hard to ensure that the gates to the Sunbeam Garden were a perfect representation of what the Garden means to so many people. There is an incredible team of people working very hard to bring the Sunbeam Garden together, and we are honoured to be a part of that.
One of the conditions of a Tree of Tranquility being placed within Airedale Hospital's grounds, was that the Tree must be secured in a space with locked entry. The production of the Sunbeam Gates was a key factor in Airedale Hospital being approved as the site for the first Tree of Tranquility in England. So much thought has gone into the Sunbeam Garden, from the choices of plants and paving stones, right down to the gate which protects this safe haven for families. The hands and feet represent the little loved ones who are remembered within the Garden's walls. The little elephant represents Aidan's Elephants and the Sunbeam Support Group. And the beautiful vines and leaves represent the Tree of Tranquility and the many families who will gather around it to remember their children. These gates are a true piece of heart work, carefully thought out by those who know and feel their significance.
The Sunbeam Gates are currently in place in the entry way of the Sunbeam Garden. However they will need to be temporarily removed once heavy machinery is needed in the garden to build the raised flower beds and new paths. Some of the paintwork will be given it's final touches when they are removed. They are a welcome and inspiring replacement to the original gates shown below.
The first discussions and plans for Airedale NHS Foundation Trust's Baby Remembrance Garden began many years ago, and this incredible project is now in it's final stages of completion.
Along with Airedale's Bereavement Midwife (Bev Beaumont) and Bereavement Team, we fell in love with the idea of providing a permanent sculpture in the Baby Remembrance Garden, which could bear the names or special dates of babies and children who were held in their parents hearts. We found that SiMBA (a Scottish charity which supports bereaved parents) already provided/funded unique baby memorial trees in Scotland, and we aspired to fund SiMBA to place one of their trees in Airedale's Baby Remembrance Garden.
We are honoured to formally announce that Aidan's Elephants, working in partnership with Airedale NHS Foundation Trust (ANHSFT)'s Bereavement Team and SiMBA, have been able to secure and fully fund the placement of a Tree of Tranquility within the Sunbeam Baby Remembrance Garden (situated at ANHSFT). The tree is a beautifully hand crafted, life size sculpture made from recycled metals. It will bear individual leaves which can be engraved with personal messages, each one representing a forever loved and missed baby or child.
Parents will be able to order copper leaves (at no cost) to have engraved with their baby's name/date or a special message. The engraving can be done at anywhere that parents wish, but we will provide a list of local, approved engravers who have agreed a set fee for engraving and will be aware of the emotional significance of the leaves. Parents can hold on to their leaves for as long as they wish. When they feel ready, the leaves can be posted back to SiMBA, who will bond each one to the tree. Initially all returned leaves will be bonded when the Tree is first placed. From then on, leaves will be bonded to the tree periodically (we estimate once or twice a year). The leaves are individually photographed when they are bonded to the tree by SiMBA, and each parent will receive a beautiful photograph of their child's leaf once it has been bonded onto the tree.
Five Trees of Tranquility (in Borders, Edinburgh & Lothians, Glasgow, Inverness and Orkney) exist in Scotland, each one funded and placed by SiMBA. Airedale's Tree of Tranquility will be the first to be placed in the UK. The funding that Aidan's Elephants has released for this tree (a total of £11,640) has been contributed to by every family who has supported the Non-Profit Organisation. The Tree is part of the legacy of every baby and child who has inspired people to donate, fundraise or provide any kind of support for Aidan's Elephants. Because of those treasured children and their families, we have the privilege of being able to fund a unique and invaluable addition to the Sunbeam Baby Remembrance Garden. Families who donate to Aidan's Elephants in the future will also be contributing to this everlasting memorial, as their donations will help us to maintain the future of the Tree and allow for new leaves to be added over the years to come.
To the families who have helped make the purchase of this tree possible, through donations large and small, thank you from the bottom of our hearts, for all your support in making this aspiration become a reality. We would also like to say a special thank you to Bev Beaumont (Airedale's Bereavement Midwife) for all her hard work and dedication in helping to bring the Tree of Tranquility to Airedale. The Tree being placed in Airedale's Baby Remembrance Garden is something that Bev has dreamed of for a long time, and she has been instrumental in it's placement. The Tree of Tranquility is a breathtaking piece of artwork, which we feel will bring so much comfort to both newly bereaved families and those who sadly lost their children many, many years ago. It is an honour to have been trusted with the memorial funds of so many little loved ones over the years, and a privilege for us to be able to use those funds to create something so special for a whole community of parents and their families.
Work on producing the Tree of Tranquility will begin in the next few weeks, and the Tree is estimated to be placed within the Hospital's Sunbeam Baby Remembrance Garden in Spring 2018. Within the next few weeks, we look forward to being able to provide order forms for parents to order their leaves in advance, so that the leaves can be attached to the Tree as soon as it is in place.
If anyone would like any further information about the Tree of Tranquility, please get in touch with us.
* Images of the five existing Trees of Tranquility and leaves shared with permission from SiMBA.
On October 15th at 7pm, families all around the world light candles in memory of the children they have loved and lost.
The varying time zones around the globe mean that a beautiful 'wave of light' is created, and for one night - the entire world is lit up with candles that shine for our children. Acknowledging their lives, acknowledging our loss, and giving us all the courage to say their names and share their stories.
Please join us in lighting a candle.
We would like to invite you to share a photograph of your candle with us, along with your child's name and/or special dates. The photographs will be put together to create a beautiful Wave of Light 2017 Photo-Collage on this page.
You can share your candle with us by posting a photograph in the comments on this page, or by posting it under our Wave of Light 2017 photograph which will appear on Facebook and Twitter at 7pm on October 15th.
Wishing you a peaceful October 15th, remembering your precious little ones..
As one of over 40 charities which work together for Baby Loss Awareness Week, Aidan's Elephants was invited to attend two very special events which will take place today in the Houses of Parliament, London.
The Parliamentary launch of Baby Loss Awareness Week 2017
Wednesday 11th Oct, 13:00 – 15:00, Jubilee Room, off Westminster Hall
Both the Minister of Health Philip Dunne MP and the Shadow Health Minister Justin Madders MP will speak at the event, along with parents giving their personal accounts of baby loss. Dr Clea Harmer, CEO of the charity Sands, will present the draft National Bereavement Care Pathway, a comprehensive resource for professionals to enable them to provide excellent support for bereaved parents at whatever point their baby dies. The Pathway will be launched across a eleven pilot sites for testing this October, and has been developed in partnership with parents, professionals, charities, commissioners and other stakeholders. The Pathway has been made possible thanks to funding from the Department of Health and support from the APPG on Baby Loss. Invitations to the event have been given to MPs and Peers interested in baby loss and related issues, along with two members of each Baby Loss Awareness Alliance charity/non-profit.
Wednesday 11th Oct, 15:15 – St Mary’s Undercroft, off Westminster Hall
This event is a non-denominational remembrance service open to all invitees of the Parliamentary launch, as well as all MPs, Peers and Houses of Parliament staff. The service will include a reading, hymns and a prayer.
As we are unable to travel up to London ourselves this year, we have asked two representatives to attend in our place. We are honoured to have Bev Beaumont (Bereavent Midwife, ANHSFT) and Gemma Sayer (Midwife, member of the Bereavement Team, ANHSFT) representing us in celebration of the bereavement care partnership between Aidan's Elephants and Airedale NHS Foundation Trust's Bereavement Team. They will be keeping us informed as events unfold today, and we look forward to sharing updates with you on Twitter, Facebook and here on this page.
A core group of charities and professional bodies are leading the development of a National Bereavement Care Pathway for pregnancy and baby loss.
Kicking off Baby Loss Awareness Week 2017, which focuses on the theme of better bereavement care for parents, Sands launched the NBCP pilot yesterday. 11 sites in England, representative of geography, capacity and specialism, have been selected to trial the use of new materials, guidelines and training for professionals to help improve the care bereaved parents receive. The 11 sites will work with the NBCP project team to understand the impact and the effectiveness of the pathway on improving bereavement care for parents.
The NBCP has the support of the Department of Health and has been developed to improve bereavement care for parents and families at all stages of pregnancy and baby loss up to 12 months.
This is a huge step forwards in addressing the postcode lottery of bereavement care for parents in the UK. Every family is entitled to and must receive outstanding care following the loss of their baby or young child.
The 11 sites are:
- Wirral University Teaching Hospital
- Liverpool Women’s Hospital Trust
- York Teaching Hospital NHS Trust
- Hull & East Yorkshire NHS Trust
- Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust
- Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust
- Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (Barnstaple Hospital)
- Medway (Maritime) NHS Foundation Trust
- West Middlesex, Chelsea & Westminster
- Barking, Havering & Redbridge University Trust - Queens Hospital, Romford
- Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust
The National Bereavement Care Pathway Core Group consists of:
- Sands (Stillbirth and neonatal death charity)
- The Lullaby Trust
- The Miscarriage Association
- ARC (Antenatal Results & Choices)
- Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
- Royal College of Midwives
- Royal College of Nursing
- Neonatal Nurses Association
- Institute of Health Visiting
- NHS England
- Representative of the UK health research community
These precious little hand and footprints* belong to baby Isaac Joe Wilkinson, who was born sleeping on the 23rd of June 2017.
On the 2nd of September, Isaac Joe's family and friends held a fundraising event at the Dickie Bird in Keighley. The night featured local live bands along with a raffle and tombola. £2000 was raised in Isaac Joe's honour, which his parents Laura and Joe split equally and donated to both Aidan's Elephants and The Sunbeam Support Group.
"The Memory Box has given us something of our son we never thought we would have had. It takes pride of place in our living room and we open it often. From the moment we saw the Memory Box we said how beautiful it was, and knew we wanted to help others who sadly need the boxes. After coming home from the hospital we wanted to occupy ourselves, so we got stuck in with organising the charity event. The evening was truly amazing and we felt some sense of achievement for Isaac Joe."
The £1000 we have received in Isaac Joe's memory will pay for approximately 38 grieving families to receive an Aidan's Elephants Memory Box, giving each family the opportunity to create precious memories with their little one before they sadly say goodbye. Isaac Joe's family and friends - we can not thank you enough for all your support. You have already achieved so much for your beautiful boy, and he has a legacy that will help many other families who sadly walk in your shoes.
* Prints edited/shared with permission from Isaac Joe's parents.
For many years, the staff at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust (ANHSFT) have been exploring the idea of creating a baby memorial garden within the hospital grounds.
In July this year, with the help of David Moss (Deputy Director of Strategy, Business Development, Estates and Facilities at ANHSFT), a secure area within the hospital grounds was approved by The Airedale Foundation Trust Board. Finding a secure, private area was particularly important, as the garden has been planned around the concept of a memorial statue which parents can attach their babies' names to.
Airedale NHS Foundation Trust's Head Gardener, Steve Marshall has worked closely with the Bereavement Team and local families, to drawn up designs for the garden.
The Baby Memorial Garden will be named 'The Sunbeam Garden', due to it's vast support from families who attend the local bereaved parents support group which is run by Airedale Midwives.
The Bereavement team and supporting co-workers at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust have worked (and are working) incredibly hard to create a safe, special place for bereaved families in the local area to visit and remember their children. We look forward to sharing progress with you as this beautiful project continues. If you would like to help with the Sunbeam Garden in any way, please get in touch.
Earlier this year we (Aidan's Elephants) nominated both Airedale Hospital's Bereavement Team and Bev Beaumont (Airedale's Bereavement Midwife) for Butterfly Awards. The awards recognise and celebrate inspirational contributions to supporting families who have lost a baby or young child. Both Bev and the Bereavement Team have been successful in being shortlisted. We would like to ask for your support in voting for these wonderful people, who dedicate so much of their time and love to supporting families who have lost their precious babies. You can find out more about why we nominated Bev and the Airedale's Bereavement Team below.
Best Bereavement Support Worker: