Sands 40th anniversary
Networks & Volunteering Team, Sands | 3 June 2018
  • Name: Louisa Evans
  • Current role: Baby memorial garden coordinator and befriender
  • Details of previous role(s)/activities: Chair of Derby Sands

Network Co-ordinator for the East Region, Rose Aberhart says, “Lou was instrumental in getting funds {£35,000} to set up Derby’s amazing memorial garden and sculptures only 4 years after the stillbirth of her daughter.”

Nathalya West Network Co-ordinator says, “Louisa was the driving force behind the creation of the Derby Sands baby memorial garden. She takes the lead on organising memorial services at the garden, including an annual Christmas service which is held there.”

Note from Louisa:

“I became a member of Derby Sands in Feb 2009, one month after the stillbirth of my daughter Lauren. Being able to share Lauren’s story with others who truly understood was invaluable and I am so grateful that Sands gave me that opportunity. I was desperate to help others in similar situations and one year later I trained as a befriender and then in 2011 I became Chair of Derby Sands (until Dec 2014).

I really needed to make some sort of sense as to why I had lost Lauren and decided I needed to do something huge that would have a really positive impact upon the local baby loss community. After talking to an elderly friend who had lost her baby in the 1950’s the idea for a baby Memorial Garden honouring the names of babies lost long ago and through the years to the current day came about. I co-ordinated and facilitated the entire project with the help of the committee and members of Derby Sands and in June 2014 our wonderful garden was opened, with 155 baby’s name displayed on a stunning memorial. Since then we have fundraised and opened two more beautiful memorials and there are now over 400 baby’s names honoured. I lead memorial services 3-4 times each year where further names are added and I cannot put into words how wonderful it feels to know that so many individuals and families are enjoying our garden and finding peace and comfort there.

It is so heart-breaking yet so heart-warming  to hear people recall their baby’s story from as far back as the 1940’s and for them to feel a huge weight has been lifted as they have finally shared their story, spoken their name and honoured their baby with a beautiful name plaque on our memorial. What an amazing gift for us to offer bereaved families. I am so very proud of our baby garden and all my on-going hard work, stress and tears is worth it when parents tell me what the garden means to them. Every time I hear praise for our garden, I smile and say a silent thank you and well done to Lauren – she is my reason for doing what I do and finally I feel at peace with my loss.”

Sands is marking its 40th anniversary this year and we would like to say thank you for the incredible support and contribution that our dedicated volunteers make across the UK to support bereaved parents and anyone affected by the death of a baby. We will host an awards ceremony during the Sands 40th Anniversary Conference to celebrate the wide range of volunteering involvement in Sands and acknowledge 40 volunteers for their dedication and commitment. 

Volunteer nominations for 2018 are open and we invite you to nominate individuals or teams of volunteers. Please contact find out more and to make your nomination.

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