Cathy Milburn – Swindon Sands
Current role/activities: Befriender
Details of previous role(s)/activities: Chair and founder of Swindon Sands 2008-2015
"I first became aware of Sands following the unexpected loss of our little Adam at 31 weeks in 2007. I felt an overwhelming need to feel a connection with people who just 'got it', so I joined the Sands forum which was a huge support and eventually contacted Sands to set up a group in my area.
Swindon Sands just grew and grew and we found ourselves launching the memory boxes, doing training, holding fundraisers, planning and building a memorial garden and eventually creating a beautiful bereavement suite. Most importantly, we were supporting and lifting each other. After a few years of running the group and helping form Bath Sands, I wanted to do more! So jumped on a train and went to meet with Sue Hale to ask how I can help more Sands groups! I soon started to volunteer in the Sands networks as well as Swindon Sands and shortly found myself coordinating the whole of the South Network, eventually becoming employed as a Coordinator for Sands up until last year, which I absolutely loved.
Sands has absolutely been my lifeline since losing Adam, they have supported me, shaped me, helped build me back up again and will always have a very special place in my heart. We all know how much of a rollercoaster grief is, but knowing that Sands are always there and that through them I've been able to help others on their journey too at many times kept me moving forward and I'll always be grateful.”
Jo Anderson, South West Network Coordinator said: “Cathy originally set up this group and also helped set up Bath Sands and sub-group in Devizes whilst part of the group. The group grew and grew whilst under her excellent leadership creating a bereavement suite at Great Western Hospital, creating gardens, running several balls as well as other fundraisers and supporting many bereaved families along the way.”
Cathy has been nominated as part of 40 volunteers for #Sands40. Join them at Sands 40th Anniversary Conference on 17th November 2018 in Glasgow.
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 be hosting 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.