Work started on garden for people affected by past practices around the cremation of babies

Work has started on the memorial garden for families affected by past practices around the cremation of babies.

The design of the garden and the sculpture were agreed last year 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.

The garden has been designed by TGP Landscape Architects and the features include an arched entrance, several seated areas in the circumference of a grassed circular area with the sculpture as the main feature in the middle of the circle, and a more private area where families affected can sit, and also have names of those affected permanently inscribed on rectangular-shaped metal plates, if they wish.

TGP prepared option designs and then worked together with the Working Group to develop its preferred option. 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.

The work creating the garden is being carried out by MTM Construction, a Kinellar-based firm which has been carrying out civil engineering, construction, and building work in the north-east for more than 40 years. The work schedule of the firm meant the initial work has started this month. It is expected the work should be complete in Spring 2019, weather and ground conditions depending.

Roddy Mitchell, construction director at MTM Construction, said: “We feel privileged to carry out the work on the garden as we know how much it will mean to the people affected, particularly as we are a local firm.

“We hope it will continue to be a mild winter and we can get ahead with the work however even if we do get some bad weather yet, our aim is to get the garden finished as soon as possible to the highest standard.”

Maja Quille was chosen as the artist for the bronze 1.4metre-high sculpture which will stand in the garden. Maja’s flowing design of flying birds enclosing a seat was chosen from a shortlist of four after 20 people submitted designs for the sculpture. The original artwork is designed to provide a focus for contemplation and reflection in the memorial garden.

The Working Group will give an official name to the garden at a later date.

The Working Group meetings are being 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 on 0845 600 2227, and anyone affected can also contact SANDS Aberdeen on 0870 7606649 or help@aberdeen-sands.org. The meetings are being supported by Aberdeen City Council.