Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is organising a touching memorial service, known as the ‘Shared Memories Service,’ to provide solace to families who have experienced the loss of a baby or child. This service, aimed at helping bereaved parents overcome their grief, will take place at the Listening for Life Centre in Bradford Royal Infirmary on Saturday, 8 July at 11am. Due to COVID-related postponements, this will be the first service held since 2019.
The event aims to create a serene environment where attendees can remember and reflect upon their loved ones. The service is open to all, irrespective of their beliefs or lack thereof. As in previous years, it will be centred around a children’s story that deals with the concept of death and bereavement. This year’s chosen book is ‘Gentle Willow’ by author Joyce C. Mills. Additionally, appropriate music and poems will be featured during the service.
Reverend Stephen Lees, a Church of England SPaRC (Spiritual, Pastoral and Religious Care) Practitioner, expressed the importance of gathering together and remembering others who have shared a similar heartache. Acknowledging the slow and painful journey of grief and the wide range of experiences encompassing loss, Reverend Lees emphasised the supportive nature of the memorial event. It provides families with the opportunity to connect and offer each other support before and after the service. The event will incorporate various activities, such as storytelling, the creation of tokens, music, and moments of quiet reflection, all designed to honour and remember those who have been loved and lost.
The event will be facilitated by a dedicated team comprising staff members from the Trust’s Maternity, Paediatrics, and SPaRC teams. These individuals, whom parents and families may have encountered during their hospital visits, will be available to offer support or simply extend a warm greeting.
Attendees are encouraged to bring along photographs or mementoes of their child, which will be placed on a special memory table. Parents who have participated in previous services have expressed gratitude for the caring and supportive environment, particularly appreciating the familiar faces of staff members who have cared for them and their children.
The Shared Memories Service extends its invitation not only to parents but also to other grieving family members and friends. Siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and close family friends are all welcome to attend. The service provides an opportunity for parents and their extended families to share their emotions and grieve together, fostering a supportive environment as they remember their babies and children.
Invitations have been sent to families who have experienced the loss of a child or baby at the Trust’s hospitals within the past 24 months. However, anyone else who believes they would benefit from the occasion is also welcome to attend. To assist with planning, it is requested that attendees register online by visiting the following link: [link to the registration form].
The event is expected to last approximately 45 minutes, with additional time allocated for refreshments. For further information, please contact the SPaRC team at 01274 365819 or email SPaRCteam@bthft.nhs.uk.