After the death of a much longed for baby or death of a child, thinking about what to do next can feel completely overwhelming. Every parent reacts differently and how each decides to say goodbye to their precious baby or child will vary. There is no right or wrong way – it is a very personal decision.
Knowing that you have choices will hopefully help you to feel that any decisions made, or arrangements planned, were the right ones for you and for your baby or child.
You are welcome to come and discuss your options with us, we can also show you the chapel and garden and answer any questions you may have about the funeral service and cremation.
Hospital Arranged funeral
When a baby dies in hospital, the hospital may offer to make the arrangements on your behalf. It is helpful to find out what sort of funeral the hospital would provide. Many NHS hospitals offer to organise and pay for a funeral for a baby who dies at any stage of pregnancy or shortly after birth. Each hospital differs and it may be that they provide a shared cremation. A shared cremation is where a number of babies are cremated together and some parents can take comfort from their baby not being alone. – this information should be relayed to you by the patient affairs officer at the hospital.
Where ashes are recovered from a shared cremation these will be scattered in the garden of remembrance and the location recorded in our registers. Ashes cannot be given back to families following a shared cremation as they are not individually identifiable.
Privately Arranged Funeral
If you wish to use the services of a funeral director, it can be a good idea to contact several for an estimate of the costs involved, or to ask a friend to do this on your behalf.
You also have the option to carry out the entirety of the funeral yourself, without using a funeral director and we can provide you with advice and guidance.
You can choose a religious or non-religious service. You can choose to have a Religious minister or civil celebrant or a service taken by family and friends. You can have music and reading of your choice. You are welcome to take photographs in the chapel. You can also have the service recorded using the our Wesley Media System.
If there are other children in the family, to help them feel included in this important event, try to involve them in discussions about the funeral. They might like to contribute a favourite song, poem or reading. Provided they are prepared for what they will see and hear, if they are offered the option to attend the funeral or a special goodbye, most find it helpful. You may want to ask another adult who is close to the children to help support them if they choose to come to the funeral.
Each baby is cremated individually (twins can be cremated together). You can collect the ashes or arrange to scatter them in the Garden of Remembrance.
Our “Water bugs and Dragonflies Babies and Children’s Memorial Garden
In November 2015 we completed a beautiful garden dedicated to the memory of babies and children. The garden is based on the children’s story “Water bugs and Dragonflies” by Doris Stickley.
There is a Sculptured Memorial Tree and a leaf can be dedicated to remember a baby or child. This garden has been designed to be a fitting memorial to all the babies and children and, for this reason, we do not allow any personal items, or ashes to be placed in this garden.
Application form for a leaf on the memorial tree
You can listen to the story narrated by Mary Maddocks on the video below
You can see a video of the transformation of the area on this video below
Annual Memorial Services
We hold a remembrance service each year, usually the first Sunday in December, in our Chapel. You, your family and friends are welcome.
Stillborn and Neonatal Death Charity – SANDS