A new £51,000 infant memorial garden created as a dedicated place for families to remember the loss of their loved ones has officially opened.
The Forget-Me-Not Garden project, led by Fylde Council in partnership with Blue Skies Hospital Fund and Blackpool and Preston Sands Group, was unveiled by Fylde mayor Coun Peter Hardy yesterday at Lytham Crematorium.
The garden – the first of its kind in south Fylde – will provide a much needed facility for families on the Fylde coast who have lost a child aged 12 months or younger through stillborn or neonatal death.
Coun Hardy said: “It is our hope, that The Forget-Me-Not Garden, will bring comfort to many. We want families to feel welcome and respected when they come here. We want them to feel calm and safe.
“As such, every element of its design has been created to encourage an individual and personal connection to the space.”
Chairman of environment, health and housing committee, Coun Ben Aitken, added, “From today, for the first time on the Fylde Coast, we are able to offer bereaved families a dedicated space in which they are able to acknowledge their loss. A place where they can go to remember and to reflect. A place they can go to grieve.”
It is our hope, that The Forget-Me-Not Garden, will bring comfort to many. We want families to feel welcome and respected when they come here. We want them to feel calm and safe
Following four months of discussions with members of Blackpool and Preston Sands – a group which supports anyone affected by the death of a baby – the final designs for both the garden and sculpture were completed earlier this year.
An oak tree sculpted from steel features copper and opaque perspex leaves hanging from its branches sits near the garden’s centre.
The piece mirrors the existing oak tree which has stood in the garden for many years.
Cobblestones and slate flow from its trunk down towards the cemetery lake and this river effect is mirrored by a winding planting scheme in one of the other grassed areas.
The copper leaves will also act as memorials, with bereaved families able to buy these to be engraved and hung on the tree.
The garden was designed by award-winning sculptor and landscape architect Philippe Handford.
He said: “The garden and artwork I have designed sit in harmony with one another and incorporate many of the signs and symbols from nature that bereaved families associate with the child they have lost. This was an important part of creating a meaningful space that will allow families to make personal connections to the garden.”
Helen Grimshaw, Chair of Blackpool and Preston Sands group added: ““We want families to feel welcomed and respected, a place where they can stay a while to reflect and remember their babies.
“We hope that families will feel comforted, calm and safe and in the garden Philippe has created.”
From this week, bereaved families will be able to buy an engraved copper memorial leaf to hang on the remembrance tree in memory of their lost babies.
For more information contact Lytham Crematorium on (01253) 735429 or email firstname.lastname@example.org