The Sands Garden Open Day and Remembrance Service is a well-established annual event offering parents, their families and friends the opportunity to acknowledge and remember their babies during a simple service and meet with others in the peaceful atmosphere of the Sands Garden.   

Held annually at the National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, Staffordshire, this year’s service starts at 2pm on Saturday, 15th June 2013, in the Millennium Chapel, you can start arriving from 12 noon onwards. The chapel holds just over 100 people, there will be additional seating and a marquee in the open area immediately outside the chapel and the service will be broadcast on loudspeakers.

Refreshments and lunch are available to buy in the restaurant in the visitors centre or you can bring a picnic. There is lots of space for children to run around in the garden or outside the marquee.

If you would like to personally acknowledge your baby in the Sands Garden, small flat stones will be made available on which you can write the name or a short message to your baby using an indelible marker pen.  You can then place your stone at the side of the path that leads into the garden.  Alternatively, you are welcome to bring your own stone; all we ask is that it is no more than 7cms in length.

Please do not leave any other objects or items other than stones in the Sands garden.

The Sands Garden is dedicated to the memory of all those babies who have died and is designed to reflect the emotional journey that many parents and families face in trying to come to terms with the death of their baby.

The garden features a Portland stone sculpture of the Sands teardrop logo by respected sculptor John Roberts. It has been designed in a way that encourages adults and children to sit and touch the central baby figure.

This year, two beautiful new handmade oak benches commissioned by Sands will be in place for the Sands Garden Open Day. They were carved by skilled local craftsman Tim Brown and replace the original elm seats that had become damaged over the years.

After visiting the garden for inspiration Tim said:

“I found the stones lining the winding pathway very moving, the garden then opened up revealing the sculpture by John Roberts as the focal point.  I wanted my design to compliment the sculpture, be kind and comfortable, original yet with a classical theme.  I also planned to hand carve the Sands logo into the seats.”

The garden was originally inspired by Alison and Jon Stokes whose son Jack was stillborn.  More information about the garden can be found here.

If you are unable to make the service, you may like to know that the Sands Garden is open to the public all year round except Christmas day.  

The Sands Garden is located at the National Memorial Arboretum, Croxall Road, Alrewas, Staffordshire DE13 7AR Tel: 01283 792 333.

Details of how to get to National Memorial Arboretum and further details on the day can be found here.