Emotional ceremony as Tree of Tranquillity for babies lost during or after birth unveiled in Dundee

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A memorial to babies lost during or after birth has been unveiled in an emotional ceremony in Dundee.

The charity SiMBA unveiled the Tree of Tranquillity in Dundee Botanic Gardens on Sunday in an effort to support bereaved local families.

© DC Thomson
A detail view of one of the leaves from the tree.
© DC Thomson
Harpist performs with Makaton choir in the background.

Around 100 people attended to see the lifesize metal sculpture, which features individual copper leaves engraved with personal messages.

They included Paul Harris and Dawn Louise Campbell, who lost their baby daughter Rae Elise Harris in December 2017, just days before her due date.

The couple helped raise £6,000 for the erection of the tree and shared their story with the gathering after reading a poem, called The Trees of Tranquillity.

Dawn said it would mean a lot to have somewhere special to remember her.

“You can feel quite shut off after experiencing it and you don’t realise how many others have gone through the same.

© DC Thomson
The unveiling of the Tree of Tranquility at Dundee Botanic Gardens.

“It was an emotional day. When you lose a baby you are just trying to get through the day.

“Just from speaking to others here I feel so much better.

“It’s been overwhelming. I’m so glad it’s here now.”

The Makaton Choir performed several songs before 60 butterflies were released individually by some of those attending.

The insects had been kept in cold storage before being warmed up again and then released from small cardboard boxes.

Funds for the tree have been raised by maternity staff at NHS Tayside, Dundee University Botanic Gardens, members of Unison’s Tayside health branch and the charity Tayside Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity.

Sara Fitzsimmons MBE, CEO of SiMBA added: “We are so very proud to unveil this tree of tranquillity in the beautiful grounds of the University of  Dundee Botanic Gardens.

“When a baby dies there is a huge feeling of isolation;  our handcrafted trees of tranquillity show families that they are not alone and our butterfly releases encourage families to come together in a gentle event,  knowing that they are surrounded by others who understand.

“SiMBA is here to offer on-going support to our families and I would encourage you please to visit our website www.simbacharity.org.uk for full details of our support services.

“Please remember that you are never alone, SiMBA is here to help and support you and those closest to you.”

SiMBA has helped erect five other similar trees across Scotland as well as one in England.

It specialises in creating individual memory boxes for bereaved parents with 20,000 donated so far.

To find out more about the charity, visit www.simbacharity.org.uk