ASHFORD BABY MEMORIAL GARDEN
ASHFORD BABY MEMORIAL GARDEN
Many crematoria and cemeteries have special baby areas but often they are out of town and not easy to get to, and the baby areas themselves are sometimes quite a way from the car park, or bus stop. They are often very sad places not always very inviting, sometimes with areas overgrown or very cluttered. Memorials at crematoria and cemeteries often cost many hundreds of pounds for just a set number of years and are often too expensive for many people.
In 2011, a group of local volunteers got together and decided we needed something better for local people. After a lot of work, and a considerable amount of fundraising, raising around £30,000 they were able to create the wonderful Ashford Baby Memorial Garden in Ashford Town Centre. This is within the main Memorial Park, and is five minutes’ walk from the shops, the buses and the railway station. The Baby Garden is open every single day during daylight hours and is completely accessible, with no steps.
When we designed the Garden, we wanted something that was bright and welcoming, and somewhere where we could remember our special babies in a positive way. We wanted something where members of the public would feel comfortable visiting, and somewhere where children were able to play when they came along to remember their brother or sister.
The end result was a beautiful garden, full of flowers and shrubs, and a really bright and vibrant area. We have two beautifully carved benches, one depicting a butterfly and the other a dove, and these were created specifically for us. The Garden is maintained by Aspire, Ashford Council’s gardening contractor, for which we pay an annual fee.
Within the Garden, we have a lovely mosaic, created from well over 5,000 pieces – each one representing one of the 5,000 babies that die each year - created by local families in 2013. This has a teardrop design and is surrounded by 171 baby names, recorded forever. We now also have boards along the side of the Garden where we are able to offer name tiles, each one with a special baby’s name and a date. In total we have over 300 baby names recorded in the garden forever.
We are able to offer name tiles at a one-off cost of £40 each, although we can assist if payment is difficult. We place orders four times a year and have deadlines for receiving orders of 15 February, 15 May, 15 August and 15 November each year.
In addition to the Ashford Baby Memorial Garden, we are keen to look at the possibilities of creating baby name tile boards in other community gardens in East Kent. If you know of somewhere that might be a possibility, please get in touch with us.
NAME TILES AND HOW TO ORDER
We order name tiles four times a year and our deadlines are 15 February 15 May, 15 August and 15 November each year. This allows us to get the tiles ordered and in the Garden in time for Easter, the July Picnic, the Wave of Light in October and Christmas.
We ask for a minimum donation of £40, but can be flexible with payments over time where that would help. To order, please email us at EKBMGG@gmail.com with the following details.
Baby’s name – this is limited to 21 characters, including spaces. Sometimes families just ask for ‘Baby Surname’ and that is fine.
The date – we can only have one date on the tile but you can choose which date.
Your name, address, phone number and email address. This is important so we can confirm receipt, tell you when the tile is in the Garden, and keep you in touch with any Garden activities. Having your address also helps us see where people are from, so that we can gauge interest from particular areas.
If you do NOT want us to tell you about future activities, please let us know.
Please pay direct into our bank account, our details are Metro Bank, Sort Code 23-05-80, account number 38580124, account name East Kent Baby Memorial Gardens Group, using your name as the reference so we can identify it.
Alternatively, feel free to drop or post your details to us at 13 Goldings Court, Nine Acres, Ashford TN24 9JR, but please make sure you include all the information we ask for! A cheque (payable to the East Kent Baby Memorial Gardens Group) or cash with the order is fine.
Occasionally, families ask for a second name tile for them to keep at home, or in their own garden. If you would like a second one, please let us know. We would usually ask for a £25 payment to cover the additional tile and would normally ask you to collect it from Ashford.