Lilian was delighted to officially open the Forever Stars Bereavement Garden at Highfields today, alongside Oliver Chapman of Liz Lake Associates, Head of Parks Eddie Curry, Richard Daniels of Forever Stars and bereavement midwife Christa Burgess.
photo courtesy of Nottingham Post Joseph Raynor
‘Forever In Bloom’ - charity launches million pound garden project full of memories
A Nottingham-based charity that was set up to help bereaved parents of stillborn babies and early baby loss has announced plans to create a Memorial Garden in the city to provide a place of focus, relaxation and reflection for families.
The Forever Stars Memorial Garden is being created at Highfields Park, a short distance from the Queen’s Medical Centre and is expected to include areas for reflection, a picnic area, a nature walk and a tree of tranquility where the names the babies and children can be inscribed upon the leaves.
Forever Stars was set up by Richard and Michelle Daniels after their daughter Emily was stillborn in December 2013 at the city’s Queen’s Medical Centre. The charity has already has raised more than two hundred and fifty thousands of pounds to create "serenity suites" at the QMC and more recently, the City Hospital.
The suites are there to offer a quiet place for parents to reflect, grieve, and spend time with their baby after stillbirth. However, with those more immediate places for reflection now secured and benefiting 150 families every year in the city, Forever Stars wants to create a lasting public space for families that will provide a place of focus, relaxation and reflection for families outside of the hospitals.
Richard Daniels explains;
"Our ‘Forever In Bloom’ campaign is a very ambitious step forward for Forever Stars but one that we are proud and excited to be making. The bereavement suites have provided vital immediate comfort and support to grieving families but we feel there is also a need to provide a more lasting space for reflection outside of the hospitals.
"There are memorial gardens all over the world and the UK for various wonderful causes but we don’t have one here in Nottingham for baby loss and we want to change that. We have been able to do so much already with the incredible support we have had and now we need to make the next step for families."
Lilian said; “Forever Stars have already made a huge difference to Nottinghamshire parents coming to terms with the loss of a baby and the “Forever in Bloom” campaign is a wonderful new project. Not only are they creating a space for parents and families to relax, remember and reflect but also a lasting public memorial to their children which will help raise awareness of baby loss. I’m very pleased to support them”
Work on the The Forever Stars Memorial Garden is expected to commence from Autumn 2018 and will be completed in three phases over 5 years, the Lake phase, the Nature Walk phase and the Community area phase. The total costs will be approx £1,000,000.
Richard Daniels concludes;
"We would like to thank the council for donating the land and all of our supporters for enabling us to get this project off the ground. Yes this is ambitious but it is needed, both for the families and for raising awareness of baby loss. By having a more public space, we hope to create not just a lasting memorial and tribute but also a place that will help more people to share their own stories and to understand the loss of other families like our own."
For details of how to support Forever Stars visit www.foreverstars.org or donate via JustGiving
Lilian met with Richard and Michelle Daniels from Forever Stars at her constituency office in the summer to discuss their work and to see the plans for the beautiful bereavement garden at Highfields Park.