Garden opens for people affected by past practices around the cremation of babies

The Aberdeen memorial garden for families affected by past practices around the cremation of babies has opened to the public.

The space at Hazlehead Park has been named the Rainbow Garden by the Working Group of parents affected who designed it, with inspiration from the song Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

The song was also the inspiration from the stunning bronze sculpture in the middle of the garden, which features flying birds.

The design of the garden and the sculpture were agreed last year (2018) by the Working Group and they are designed to evoke feelings of reflectiveness, peace, remembrance, forward-looking, uplifting, sorrow, hope, love, stillness, responsibility and reconciliation. It is designed to be open and welcoming, while at the same time is a place which allows for private emotions.

A spokesperson for the Working Group said: “The design of both the garden and the sculpture are beautiful and have captured what we were looking for. We hope parents and other people affected will find the space to be a nice quiet place for contemplation and remembering.”

The garden has been designed by TGP Landscape Architects and includes an arched entrance and several seated areas in the circumference of a grassed circular area with the sculpture as the main feature. A more private area has been incorporated where families affected can sit, and also have names of those affected permanently inscribed on plaques if they wish.

TGP prepared options and then worked together with the Working Group to develop its preferred design. The area chosen in Hazlehead Park for the garden and sculpture is a secluded quieter area, away from the main park while at the same time is easily accessible.

Maja Quille was chosen as the artist for the bronze 1.4metre-high sculpture and her flowing design of flying birds enclosing a seat was chosen from a shortlist of four after 20 people submitted proposals for the sculpture.

The Working Group meetings were chaired by John Birrell from Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland, who has vast experience in bereavement care and was a member of the Infant Cremation Commission.

Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland has offered its support to families and can be contacted on 0845 600 222. Anyone affected can also contact SANDS Aberdeen on 0870 7606649 or help@aberdeen-sands.org. The meetings are being supported by Aberdeen City Council.