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Bereaved parents’ bid to light up V&A for Baby Loss Awareness Week

Laura Gallazzi, Ashley Stevens, Ellie De-Gernier and Cher Meldrum.

A Dundee bereavement support group will commemorate Baby Loss Awareness week with a candlelight vigil.

Organised by parents who have lost babies, the vigil will be held on October 15 at Birkhill Cemetery.

Each lit candle will signify a lost baby, with an accompanying card labelling their name.

Hosts will sing songs in memory of the infants and offer round hot drinks.

As part of the awareness week, running from October 9 to 15, organisers are also hoping to light up the V&A and Tay Road Bridge pink and blue in memory of the infants.

baby loss dundee
Last year’s Baby Loss awareness event at Birkhill Cemetery.

The Dundee ceremony has been organised by local mum Ashley Stevens, who formed  Itty Bitty Baby Things, a Tayside charity providing clothes for stillborn babies.

Ashley, 26, formed the charity after her son Noah was stillborn in 2019 at just 23 weeks old.

She hopes this year’s event will bring the mums together  to remember their babies.

“The event gets a really positive response, it always seems to spark interest with people and help create friendships,” Ashley said.

“We’re hoping to light up the V&A and Tay Road Bridge for the week – they’re usually lit up anyway, so we hope they’ll join in for the event.”

In 2019, 267 public buildings around the UK lit up in pink and blue to mark the week.

‘Light up the V&A’

This year, Ashley hopes to draw attention to the lack of suitable clothing for very small babies and the effect it has on bereaved parents.

“There’s a gap for clothing in bereavement and it often makes parents feel guilty when they can’t find clothes small enough for their baby,” she said.

“We try to help with that and people will often donate to buy clothing in memory of other babies with the baby’s name on it.

“Being able to dress our child really helps — it helped me,” said Ashley.

“I lost my son at 23 weeks. He was just lying naked in a blanket with a hat on.

“He weighed just one pound.

dundee baby
Cher Meldrum and Ashley Stevens remember babies Myles and Noah at last year’s event.

“That was really traumatic for me, it was how my daughter met him.

“So we try to get clothing for really, really small babies. We’ve seen that it really helps parents to do something with their grief. We even get specially made nappies as well.”

The charity sends personal packs to bereaved parents across the UK. Some have been sent as far as America.

Laura Gallazzi, Ashley Stevens, Ellie De-Gernier and Cher Meldrum.

Ashley said: “We have a big maternity unit, so we take on people from lots of other areas as well.

“We’ll also be donating cakes to the maternity unit again this year to thank the staff for everything they do.”

The candlelight vigil will allow local families to pay tribute to their young ones who died young.

Paying tribute

Baby Loss Awareness Week marks the loss of children during pregnancy or shortly after their birth. Bereaved parents are invited to highlight the issues affecting people who have lost an infant.

People across the UK will mark the 19th annual event by lighting candles and sharing messages using the #WaveofLight hashtag on social media.

Locals can also request landmarks to light up for the event here.

The Tayside event will be held from 7pm on October 15 at Birkhill Cemetery.

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