Denny woman hosting baby loss awareness service for other bereaved parents

Kellie Cunningham (middle left) with nieces Zara and Elise Anderson and Sands events coordinator Marion Currie. Picture: Michael Gillen
Kellie Cunningham (middle left) with nieces Zara and Elise Anderson and Sands events coordinator Marion Currie. Picture: Michael Gillen

Kellie Cunningham desperately wants other bereaved parents to know they’re not alone.

That’s why she is organising a baby loss awareness service that will see hundreds of grieving mothers and fathers, and their families and friends, come together in Falkirk to remember their little ones.

The free-to-attend candle-lighting ceremony is taking place at The Kelpies on Tuesday, October 15 from 6.45pm to coincide with a global Wave of Light movement which asks families across the world to light a candle at 7pm local time and leave it to burn for at least an hour in memory of all babies who have died too soon.

Denny woman Kellie (34) was approached by Forth Valley Stillbirth and Neonatal Deaths (Sands) — a group which proved instrumental in supporting her through the pain of her son Henry’s stillbirth — about arranging an event that would enable grieving mums and dads to unite as one, while also learning more about the help Sands provides. It was an opportunity she was only too happy to take.

Kellie’s appreciation for Sands is evidenced by the fact she has raised a remarkable £55,000 on its behalf through two community fun runs since losing her son to group B strep in 2017.

Monthly Sands meet-ups at Forth Valley Spiritual Centre, along with information packs containing memory boxes and hand and footprint kits, have proved vital in helping Kellie come to terms with Henry’s death. Being able to spread the word about the support this group of bereaved parents offers was all the motivation she needed to help put together a ceremony which will involve a choir, readings, poems and a bagpiper.

The Kelpies themselves will also turn pink and blue in honour of the occasion along with several other buildings and landmarks around the UK.

Detailing the importance of both Sands’ support and next week’s event, Kellie said: “It helps me realise how I’m not alone, especially when other people approach me.

“Because of the taboo, nobody speaks about it but, once you do, you realise you’re not alone.

“There’ll be an opporunity for everyone to light candles at the stairs at The Kelpies and we’ve given away 500 free tickets so far. There’ll also be an opportunity for people to write their baby’s name and a message on a ribbon line.

“The service will be a time for friends and family to gather together and remember their babies. I would like to thank my friends and family for volunteering to help me on the evening.”

Caroline Wright, Forth Valley Sands treasurer, said: “Kellie’s contribution to Sands over the last couple of years has been remarkable.

“She is now helping to organise the Wave of Light gathering at The Kelpies. This special event gives bereaved parents and families the opportunity to all come together to remember their precious babies during Baby Loss Awareness Week.”

To reserve tickets for the service for free, visit www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/wave-of-light-candle-lighting-tickets-71766259815.