A NEW memorial has been created to provide a place for people to remember the Huntingdonshire babies who never got the chance to live.
The Memorial Tree has been planted at Hinchingbrooke Country Park thanks to the efforts of a mother-of-two from Godmanchester who suffered a miscarriage at 18 weeks.
Zoe Drinkwater, of Carnaby Close, lost her unborn son in September 2010, and wanted a special way of remembering baby Vinnie – and to provide a place where other people who have suffered a similar loss could go.
She arranged for an 8ft oak sapling, donated by Hinchingbrooke Hospital, to be planted in the park on Sunday (November 20) in a service led by Reverend Brian Atling of St Mary’s Church, Houghton and Wyton.
Mrs Drinkwater, husband Lee and daughters Elise and Caitlin, were joined by family, friends and other couples who have suffered pregnancy loss.
Each tied a ribbon to the tree, which is also going to act as a way for people to find comfort from knowing that they are not alone.
Mrs Drinkwater, 29, told The Hunts Post: “You get a terrible feeling of loneliness when you lose a child.
“The staff at Hinchingbrooke Hospital were amazing – the midwives, the bereavement councillors, the chaplain.
“But when you leave hospital, there’s this gaping black hole, and you feel very isolated.”
Her search for comfort led her to parents’ website, Bounty, where she found inspiration for the memorial tree from fellow mother, Rachel Tooley.
“By coincidence I found out that Rachel and I had been expecting our babies at the same time,” Mrs Drinkwater said. “We also lost them at the same time.
“She told me about a memorial tree near her home in Willen Lake, Milton Keynes. When I saw it, with all those beautiful ribbons tied to it, all of I sudden I didn’t feel alone any more.
“I knew this was something I wanted to do for Vinnie.”
Mrs Drinkwater said she was overwhelmed by the support from the rangers at Hinchingbrooke Country Park, Co-op funeral directors in Huntingdon, which has donated a plaque, and staff at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, in particular bereavement councillors Dash Powdrill and Jo Shaw.
Ms Shaw said: “There are many parents affected by pregnancy loss who do not have a place to visit in memory of their baby.
“To be able to choose a ribbon and place it on the memorial tree in recognition of the loss of their baby, can be very poignant and special.”
The tree has been planted near the park’s café with a plaque beneath it which reads ‘from small acorns grow mighty oaks’.
Mrs Drinkwater added: “I wanted to show that when you suffer the tragedy of losing a baby you grow in strength.
“Going through something like this makes you stronger and to me a mighty oak tree symbolises that.”
According to the Miscarriage Association, up to one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage, with between one and two per cent of those occurring after 18 weeks.
Director Ruth Bender-Atik told The Hunts Post: “To miscarry in the second trimester of a pregnancy is less common and will generate more of a sense of shock.
“It’s all about finding something which is a tangible memorial to the baby you have lost, and I think a memorial tree is a wonderful way of doing this.”
INFORMATION: For miscarriage support visit the Miscarriage Association at www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk