Local charity provides comfort to families by funding beautiful memorial bench for every baby cemetery in West Lothian
Local baby loss charity, Sands Lothians, have devoted their time and energy to make sure all 11 baby cemeteries in West Lothian now have a bespoke memorial bench.
Most West Lothian cemeteries have a designated baby area where families can have their precious baby buried for free. Many families like the thought of their little one being beside other babies and families who understand this devastating loss. However, most baby areas were without any seating, to enable families a space to sit and reflect.
The idea of memorial benches started back in 2015 when Nicola Welsh, the Chief Executive of the charity, wanted to design a bench for the Linlithgow cemetery which is local to where she lives. From a fundraiser from what would have been her son Theo’s 5th birthday, she contacted P Johnson and Company at Ratho Byre’s Forge, a local blacksmith to commission and design a bench. She wanted to include little creatures, a dragonfly and mouse to reflect the ‘child like’ nature of the loss and to entertain siblings when they visit.
In 2017, the charity commissioned a further 5 benches and involved many families who had specifically fundraised for a bench. Each family chose the quote on the plaque and the creatures to be included including bunnies, birds, robins, ladybirds, thistles and butterflies. Last week saw the completion of the project with a further 6 benches being installed at Bathgate, Whitburn, Kirknewton, West Calder, Winchburgh and Woodbank Armadale.
Adelle Watson whose little girl Ellie was stillborn in 2003 said: “I felt privileged to be asked to help with the design and wording – something to do in memory of my baby. It’s a beautiful addition to the cemetery to have somewhere to sit and just think about our precious baby Ellie. It’s a beautifully designed bench that stands out in a positive way due to the bespoke design. A lot of people will admire it and a lot of people will use it to sit and remember their loved ones, not necessarily a baby. I usually sit on the grass when visiting Ellie and probably still will but I will also be able to have a wee seat on it and have a moment, maybe not just for Ellie but for the other babies that I will be looking over when I’m sitting there.”
The charity hopes that the benches will give comfort to those visiting a much loved and missed baby or child and will be a place to sit and reflect. They also wish to remind everyone that they are always here for support and this is open to everyone regardless of how long ago their loss was.
Nicola Welsh said: “We are so proud to see these beautiful benches now installed. We hope they will be a lasting legacy for the families and will bring comfort to anyone visiting the cemetery. We would like to thank all those who have fundraised and supported the charity and made this project possible.”
For further information:
Nicola Welsh, CEO
0131 622 6263 / firstname.lastname@example.org