Speeches from the Memorial Garden Opening





Welome everyone. When Becci asked me if I would like to speak today, I had no idea what to say, until I went for a long walk last night via my son’s grave. And in conversation with him I decided to talk to you about the creation of the sculpture. My little boy Som was stillborn in 2011, and after his birth and death I attended Little footprints support group for a year. Becci approached me about making the sculpture, and in consultation I came up with some ideas and they grew into the sculpture that is here today.

I then had to go and see a man about some stone – and found Darin Clarke, a Stonemason at Stoneycombe Quarry, who had a piece of Portland limestone. It was full of fossils and fitting to the subject matter I felt, as it seemed to encapsulate the cycle of life and death within the stone itself. When we realised that there was no way of transporting such a large piece of stone to my studio, Darin kindly agreed to me working in his workshop in Stoneycombe, near Newton Abbot. I then spent 2 days a week up there for 4 months, surrounded by the noise of mechanical saws, dumper trucks, quarry explosions – and loved the process! Darin provided me with an abundance of support, expertise, compassion and coffee.

It has been a privilege to be a part of this project, and humbling to witness all the help and support that we have received. For my part I want to give my huge thanks to Darin, Ben Dormer and all the guys at the quarry, to Roland for transporting them so carefully and to Stan at Hewden and Mick for his delicate positioning of the sculpture.

I don’t have to say this to you, but the death of a baby is immense, and affects you so profoundly. It is such an invisible loss, so hidden, and that is why this garden holds such importance, not only for us here, but nationally and internationally. Thank you.




On Good Friday 11 years ago my daughter Maria Jaci was born still at Haywards Heath Hospital. Every minute of that day is a part of who I am.
 Even with the anger, sadness and grief I experienced overwhelming light and beauty. My personal experience showed me that in the events of birth and death the veils between the spiritual and physical world are thinner and I felt supported through that journey.

The time that followed was much harder but the memory of that light and beauty was lifesaving in so many darker days.
When designing this garden I wanted to convey the experience of light and beauty. I choose the solar system to represent something bigger than us. Also acknowledging the profound but silent influence of all planets in our daily life. Like my daughter in spirit with her constant and silent presence in my life.

The plants that were chosen are my personal interpretation of form and color and elude to a journey of the spirit through the different planetary spheres.

The moon is represented by the color blue, grasses, herbs and shrubs were used to create a reflective quality.

Mercury is represented by the color yellow. Herbs, grasses, shrubs and trees that encourage wildlife were used to symbolize communication.
Venus is represented by the color green. Evergreens, ferns, grasses and bamboos were used to symbolize immortality.

Sun is represented by the colors gold and white. The plants chosen were used to symbolize the radiance within us all.

Mars is represented by the color red. Willows, trees, shrubs were used to symbolize challenge.

Jupiter is represented by the color orange. Shrubs, herbs and grasses were used to symbolize transformation.
Saturn is represented by the color purple. Brambles, herbs and shrubs were used to symbolize death and rebirth.

The journey back to Earth is marked by an edible hedgerow.

It was in gardening that I found healing and support for transforming my experience. 11 years ago I planted one tree on my daughters grave. I feel honored and privileged to have helped to plant many more in this garden.
 May the generosity and abundance of nature live in the fruits and seeds of this garden.


BECCI ERIKSSON – project manager


Welcome to you all and thank-you for coming to help bless this special place which honours and acknowledges the short but precious lives of our babies.

This garden has been over a year in the planning and 6 months in the making and has transformed in that time from an area of 6 foot high brambles and fallen trees into this that we see today and it will continue to transform and grow and mature.

Many, many people have been involved in its creation and have given so generously in all manner of ways; thought, time, materials, money and hard work. To you all we say a big thank-you. Over 100 trees here have already been sponsored in memory of a baby and more are available to sponsor.

For those of us who have been involved and who have lost babies it has been lovely to do something in the names of our little ones, as the loving tasks we can do for them are so limited.

We hope this will be a place to remember them, a place to be, a place where you can know you are not alone, a place you can feel love and support, a place to raise awareness and a place that acknowledges that our babies lives, no matter how brief, have touched us, have changed us forever and have made an impact on the world.


LINDA SIMMONDS – SANDS group treasurer


For Our Children

You are with us in each passing hour

You are each tender springtime flower

You are the sunlight on ripened grain

You are the gentle autumn rain

You are the thousand winds that blow

You are the diamond glint on snow

You are the shining star at night

You are the fierce bright noonday light

You are the rising morning sun

You are the sunset when day is done

You are the clouds that race above

Where you watch over those you love

Though we stand here and mourn for you

In our hearts we hold that this is true:

You are with us in every day

You are the love that guides our way.

with acknowledgements to Mary Frye (Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep)