BEREAVED families hit by tragedy are set to be supported by a special event this weekend.
The Forget-Me-Not plant sale, which is being organised by the Durham and Wearside branch of Sands, the stillborn and neonatal death charity, will be held in Herrington Country Park on Sunday.
Ashleigh Corker, secretary of the branch, said the afternoon will be a day for all members of the family to remember the baby they lost.
Ashleigh, 41, of Great Lumley, was 39 weeks into her pregnancy with second son Thomas when doctors at the University Hospital of North Durham revealed the devastating news that her baby had died.
She said: “I went to the hospital as a precaution, really, because he hadn’t moved for a while, but I didn’t really think that by that late stage he might be dead. It was devastating.
“The loss of a baby is like no other. It goes against the natural order to lose your child.
“I can’t describe what it feels like to be in labour and be preparing a funeral at the same time and to see everyone coming into the hospital with balloons and baby car seats while you are grieving the death of your own baby.”
Ashleigh and her husband Colin, who are also parents to James, five, and two-year-old twins Elizabeth and Samuel, turned to Sands for support and now want to give that support to others.
She said: “Sands were absolutely fantastic. It was a huge benefit to be able to talk to others who had been through the same thing and could understand all your feelings and emotions.
“Stillbirth is still a taboo subject and people don’t know what to say. Events such as the flower sale are a way of raising awareness and giving people the opportunity to come along and meet others.
“The flowers can be planted in the memorial area there or people might want to take them home to plant in their garden.”
Ashleigh said the event is not just for the recently bereaved, but for anyone who might have lost a baby, even decades ago.
She said: “It is as little as 30 years ago that a mother might not even have been allowed to see the baby, it was just taken away. We get people coming to us for support who are just finding out now where their babies are buried. I can’t begin to image that pain.”
The Forget-Me-Not sale will be held from 11am to 2pm.