A new memorial to babies buried in unmarked graves will be unveiled in Arnos Vale Cemetery on the 13th April at 10.30am.
During the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, a number of babies who died just after birth or were stillborn were buried in unmarked graves near the front entrance of Arnos Vale. At the time, memorialization and remembrance was not felt to be an important part of the grieving process for parents so these babies were not given headstones. Attitudes to grief and loss have now changed and SANDS has chosen to memorialize these lives with a permanent memorial.
Sands the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society and operates throughout the UK, supporting anyone affected by the death of a baby. They work to improve the care bereaved parents receive, and by promoting research and working closely with many different organisations to reduce the loss of babies’ lives. Bristol Sands is part of Sands: they are bereaved parents and volunteer their time to support other parents and their families who have suffered the death of a baby before, during, or after birth. Support is free of charge and open to all bereaved parents whatever the circumstances of the baby’s death. They offer support via telephone and email, and through support meetings and events with other bereaved families.
The beautiful monument will be a fitting way to mark the 40th anniversary of Sands. The highly polished stone came from India and is beautifully carved by Bristol and West Memorials. The £10k funds for the stunning memorial were raised by Bristol Sands supporters who ran the Bristol 10k, and during a Virtual Run event in 2018.
The memorial is made from a block of black granite with smooth and rough carved surfaces. It is 84 inches high, 24 inches wide and 10 inches thick at the base and weighs 1.2 tonne.. The lettering is hand cut and took 3 weeks to carve. The sheared off side of the memorial which cuts through the heart wording represents the loss of all these little lives.
The monument will be unveiled this Saturday. It is placed near the Bath Road entrance near the Great War Memorial. Sands members and Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust staff would love to see members of the public at the unveiling. Attendance is free.
If you feel affected by the issues mentioned, SANDS can help. Visit www.sands.org.uk/ for support.