Sands 40th anniversary
Networks & Volunteering Team, Sands | 1 June 2018
  • Volunteer's Name: Marie Manson
  • Current role: Chair of Shetland Sands
  • Details of previous role(s)/activities: Founder of the Shetland Support Group

Chris Somerville, Scotland Network Coordinator at Sands: “Marie was instrumental in starting a group in a remote location where there was not one already; managing great fundraising and building relationships to get going.”


Marie's note: "So many people struggled to find the words to say to me when my son Kieran died, choosing to avoid me instead. I needed to speak to someone who was not too afraid to ‘find the words’. That is why I chose to start the Shetland Sands group and luckily we found a few volunteers who were also keen to befriend and ‘find the words’. The Shetland public and other Scottish groups have been fantastic in donating over £10k to get our group started and ensuring we have the funds to continue supporting parents and raising awareness.

Shetlanders are geographically isolated from the UK mainland, but we still have the same issues and although even within Shetland the islands mean that people can still be very isolated from others who could help. Therefore, I am proud that we have trained volunteers on 5 out of the 16 inhabited Shetland Islands.

Finding the English words can be hard for us native Shetland speakers, sometimes feeling like I would benefit from a translator when I travel to the Scottish mainland for Sands events. Sometimes the Shetland words are just what a parent is needing to hear.

I spend a huge amount of my time working towards Shetland Sands and hoping that families can be supported through the most devastating time of their lives.

I have been very lucky to go on and have 4 more children, Rhona, William, Maggie and Alfie and I hope that we can keep supporting parents, raising awareness and training professionals on bereavement. I am very grateful to all the Scottish groups who helped us get our group established and continue to give us support and support each other - it feels like we are all part of a family."


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 lorna.delayahu@sands.org.ukto find out more and to make your nomination.