Parents seek place to remember babies

The Remembrance Garden at Camelon Cemetery for stillborn babies and young infants
The Remembrance Garden at Camelon Cemetery for stillborn babies and young infants
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A charity which supports bereaved parents wants improvements in how people can remember their tiny infants.

SANDS, the Stillbirth and Neo-Natal Death organisation, wants better facilities in the Falkirk area.

Its members claim that more suitable arrangements are in place in Stirling and Clackmannanshire for parents who have suffered the trauma of a stillbirth or lost a baby shortly after being born.

Currently, there is a memorial garden in Camelon Cemetery which was set up 15 years ago after collaboration with the charity. It is a communal burial garden and has a wall where memorial plaques can be added.

However, last week The Falkirk Herald highlighted complaints that the garden had become rundown and was filled with worn and weather-damaged mementoes.

Falkirk Council revealed it has plans to extend the garden and asked people to collect any memorabilia they wished to keep.

Avril Yorston, chairperson of SANDS Forth Valley, said members would like to see the provision of individual memorial plots for each family.

She said: “We’d like to see something similar to Sunnyside Cemetery in Alloa which has 2ft by 2ft slabs for each family. That’s their spot to look after and put any mementoes on. It’s so much better for the parents.

“But although we’ve asked Falkirk Council for something similar, we’re told that there isn’t enough space. We even enquired when the new Grandsable Cemetery was being opened in Polmont but were told there was no room.”

Avril, who lives in Carronshore and lost her baby son 12 years ago, said some parents chose to purchase a full size lair in cemeteries but many cannot afford to.

A spokesman for Falkirk Council said: “We have had regular meetings with SANDS to discuss their longer term plans to have individual baby lairs made available within cemeteries.

“Currently we cannot accommodate their request as we already have a very high demand for our current service and this is why work is being carried out to facilitate this.

The focus of our recent discussions is to keep them informed and involved in the progress of the development of the garden.”

Falkirk Council make no internment charges from infant to 18 year olds.

Graeme Easton of Alexander Easton, who is the national president of the British Institute of Funeral Directors, said undertakers usually provided baby funerals free of charge or for a nominal fee.