Baby memorial garden in Camelon to be renovated

Landscaping work is to be carried out
Landscaping work is to be carried out

A baby memorial garden is to be renovated as part of a series of improvements.

Weathered and worn mementoes will be removed from the plot at Camelon Cemetery and the area will be re-landscaped.

Falkirk Council has been working on the plans alongside the Forth Valley branch of SANDS, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity.

SANDS will fund a new sculpted stone centrepiece, engraved with a poem, while the local authority will carry out landscape improvements.

In the longer term, the council is looking to provide an improved service to bereaved families through the provision of individual burial plots for babies.

The charity will then pay for flower pots for these graves to allow families to leave floral tributes for their little ones.

Signs have been erected asking for parents to remove soft toys and other tributes which have been significantly degraded in the elements and have caused upset for other families, detracting from the dignity of the garden.

Those left will be stored where possible and will be available for families to pick up from the cemetery office until the end of the year.

John Paterson, head of operational services at Falkirk Council, said: “We are very well aware of the sensitivities surrounding the garden and we have always strived to balance the feelings of all the families who have been affected.

“We have received complaints from families who have been upset by the deterioration of the mementoes and understandably we want to ensure that this area is a suitable one for reflection and contemplation by all.

“Working with SANDS we have a clear understanding of what the wishes of parents are and have developed design proposals with them.

“We would ask that families consider the removal of the degraded items by July 2 in order that we can all move forward with the creation of an attractive and appropriate place of remembrance.”

Members of SANDS Forth Valley are pleased that the improvements are going ahead.

The memorial garden was opened in the late 1990s after collaboration with the charity. It consists of a communal burial garden and a wall where memorial plaques can be added and is in the extension to the original cemetery.

As well as funding projects like this one, SANDS provides help and support to support anyone affected by the death of a baby.

It also works with health professionals to improve care and services offered to bereaved families as well as promoting research and changes in practice that could help to reduce the loss of babies’ lives - every day in the UK 17 babies are either stillborn or die shortly after birth.

Caroline Wright, spokesperson for Forth Valley SANDS, said: “We are pleased to have been able to work with the Council to provide an improved facility for families who suffer the loss of a baby.

“The new facility proposed will go some way to meeting our objectives of individual plots which are so important for grieving families.”

The improvement work is expected to be completed by mid summer.