I am proud to be the Chair of the East Kent Baby Memorial Gardens Group with our fantastic team of volunteers who give so much time and energy to support anyone affected by the death of a baby and in raising awareness. As you will see, most of us have direct experience of baby loss so we really can empathise.
We are all volunteers and are out and about as often as we possibly can at fetes and fairs, community days and networking opportunities, raising awareness of baby deaths and the support available to anyone affected by the death of a baby, no matter when or how long ago - it is so important that we encourage people to talk about this sometimes taboo subject.
Our team of volunteers are fantastic and we can promise that any time or money given to us really will be used locally to support local bereaved families. Thank you to them, and to their families and to everyone who supports our activities, in any way.
As well as our regular Team Members, we are building up our team of 'Local Volunteers' who help identify opportunities for us to get to events across the whole of East Kent and who make sure our posters are up in supermarkets, community halls and anywhere else, and that our leaflets are available locally. If that very informal role might be for you, or if you would just like to help at an event or two, or if you have any ideas, please let us know.
Emma Oram (Chair)
ABOUT US AS A GROUP
Most of us got together in about 2010 when we decided to create a Baby Memorial Garden in Ashford Town Centre and raised £30,000 with an incredible amount of fundraising. We created the Garden in 2013 under the umbrella of Kent Sands, and in 2016 Kent Sands split to create East Kent and West Kent and Medway Sands. For seven years since the Garden opened in 2013, we raised at least £10,000 each year for Sands charity, some of which went towards the costs of running the Garden, with the rest being used by Sands for its other activities. In total we are proud to have raised well over £100,000 for Sands since 2010. A significant part of this has been raised using our unique ‘Smiley Face Tombolas’.
In 2020 we decided we would have more flexibility over the garden and its activities, and would be able to raise money specifically for local activities, if we created a separate charity to run the Ashford Garden. In June 2020 we created the East Kent Baby Memorial Gardens Group and registered it as an independent charity. Our main activities are to support local families by running the Ashford Baby Memorial Gardens (and in time some additional small baby memorial areas elsewhere in East Kent), to provide name tiles for the Garden(s) and to raise awareness of baby loss and the support available.
In recent years, we have been very busy with between twenty and thirty fundraising and awareness activities each year, and this we hope will continue. We will continue to work alongside Sands charity (in particular East Kent Sands) as well as other baby loss charities.
If you would like to learn more about becoming a volunteer please contact us on the link below.
I lost my lovely boy, Liam, full term in 2004 after a very straightforward pregnancy. My vision was to have a special garden to remember Liam and all the other special babies and we got together some wonderful friends who helped make that happen. I am now Chair of the group and my husband Dan and two lovely daughters Emily and Ruby are now very active with us too.
I lost my baby, Vaughan, in 2006, and for the past few years have been a volunteer after raising money by completing the Great North Run with my sister.
Separately, I am a trained Befriender with East Kent Sands.
I have been involved with the Ashford Baby Memorial Garden for quite a few years, first getting involved via my friend, Emma.
I now co-ordinate the orders for our lovely name tiles in the Baby Memorial Garden.
I met Emma through a mutual friend and I've helped raise money for the Baby Memorial Garden for quite a few years. I continue to help out as much as possible as the charity is very close to my heart having miscarried 7 babies and after losing a niece. I felt very privileged when asked to join the committee in 2017.
CHRIS & CHRIS TWYDELL
As a family, we started fundraising for Sands after losing our grandson, Liam, in 2004. We have been involved in the Baby Garden project from the outset and Christine is now Secretary for the group while Chris is Treasurer. Having retired recently, we have time to take on some of the external awareness and publicity events and networking meetings.
I have been a supporter of the Ashford Baby Garden since the beginning, alongside the rest of my family, after losing my nephew in 2004.
The baby garden is a very special place and I am very pleased to have the opportunity to support the group in a bigger way by setting up and running the website.