Dedication service for baby memorial garden in Welwyn Garden City

PUBLISHED: 09:59 02 November 2016

QEII senior sister Dagmar Louw, special project manager Mandy Shoben and Rev Jane Hatton  in the new location for the memorial garden.

QEII senior sister Dagmar Louw, special project manager Mandy Shoben and Rev Jane Hatton in the new location for the memorial garden.

Danny Loo Photography 2016

A memorial garden for babies has been relocated at the New QEII hospital site in Welwyn Garden City and relatives are invited to a dedication service.

Between the 1980s and 2000, the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust had a baby memorial garden called the Bluebell Garden on the site of the former QEII hospital.

During this period and depending on the parents’ wishes, the ashes of still born babies or miscarried were often scattered in the garden.

With the building of the New QEII, the trust’s chaplains were concerned to make sure that the memories of these babies were honoured.

A replacement garden was planned and built in a secluded area to the side of the New QEII, close to the main road entrance off Howlands.

Trust chaplain Jane Hatton said: “The soil containing the scattered ashes was moved very carefully across to the new memorial garden earlier this year, where it was used to fill a very large planter.

“Then last month, following advice taken from gardening experts, the area was planted up, supported by a generous donation from SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society).

“The project manager, Mandy Shoben and I chose the plants, along with a beautiful statue, prior to meeting up early one morning in September to plant the new garden.

“Between us, we shifted half a ton of top soil, planted up the bulbs and shrubs.

“The intention is that the garden will look good all year round, and be a place of tranquillity for reflection and precious memories.

“A special dedication service for the new memorial garden has been planned for 3.30pm on Thursday, November 10.

“Sadly records were not kept of the people whose babies’ ashes were scattered on the old garden, although we know that some continued to visit regularly over the years due to the notes and gifts left.

“This is why we are very grateful to the Welwyn Hatfield Times for publishing the details of the service on November 10 so that those who may not know what has happened have a chance to come along and see the new memorial garden. They can just turn up on the day – the staff at New QEII’s main reception will direct them to where they need to go.”

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