chesterfield Royal Hospital is holding its annual service of remembrance for parents who have lost their children.
The service is organised and led by the Chesterfield Birth Centre co-ordinators, paediatrics, the neonatal unit, women’s health unit and the hospital chaplain as part of the ongoing support for families who have lost babies and children through miscarriage, stillbirth, illness or accident.
It has been running each year since the early 90s and always takes place on the Sunday after the Easter weekend, falling this year on Sunday, April 15th.
Lyn Guerriero was instrumental in introducing this service to the Royal and supports bereaved families in maternity whilst support is available on other wards and units from the matron.
She said: “This event is growing in popularity and those parents who attend each year take great comfort in being with others who have shared a similar experience.
“Everybody will react differently and it gives those who attend the chance to reflect in their own way about their loss.
“Because the event is at a set time in the calendar every year we get a lot of people coming back and many of whom say how much of a comfort it is.
“It can be an emotional occasion but to have so many people there who have gone through similar and shared experience it makes them realise that they aren’t alone.”
The afternoon will include readings, songs and the recital of the names of their lost baby or child.
Parents can light a candle if they wish as each family will also be handed a balloon to release as a symbol of their loss.
Families will also have the opportunity to write on a tag that is attached to the balloon to convey a message or sign a memorial book that will be available.
These changes were introduced after talking to former visitors about what they would like to see introduced to the event.
Trust chaplain John Butterfield conducts the reading and writes the order of service. He said: “We try and avoid being overly religious because we want to be able to include as many people as possible.
“We have a number of the nursing staff here and we are all available after the service to talk to families about their experience and offer any further help and advice.”
The service starts at 3pm and is held in a large, extended marquee in car park 5. It is open to everyone, allowing families and friends to come along and has been very well attended over the past few years with upwards of 200 people at last year’s event.