Seeds of Hope Children's Garden

 

childrens gardenThe garden can be found in the grounds of Guildford Cathedral in Surrey.  It is a place of beauty and calm specially designed for children, young people and their families to come to remember someone they love who has died.  It is also a place of change and growth where all children, with their families or teachers, can explore feelings of loss of all kinds through the cycle of life always present at the heart of a garden.

 

 The long road towards the creation of this garden began on 15th July 1987.  The evening before, I was a healthy, happy, expectant mother-to-be.  By noon of that day, our first child, our daughter Laura, had been stillborn.sculpture boy  As a result, two years on, Vivien Allen and I set up the Guildford branch of SANDS (Stillbirth & Neonatal Death Soceity) offering support and information to families when a baby dies at or around birth.  We ran this group for 12 years.  During this time, I also worked with Child Bereavement UK, a charity that supports bereaved families and offers training to professionals both when a child dies and when a child is bereaved.  

Through listening to bereaved families, I became increasingly aware of the importance of publically acknowledging the existence of babies and children who had died.  In 1991 I met the Dean of Guildford Cathedral and that year the first  'Celebration of Life' special service of remembrance and thanksgiving for all babies and children loved and lost, whatever the cause and however long ago, was held.

 sculpture girl  In the years that followed, I raised money to refurbish the Children's Chapel in the Cathedral and provide two Children's Remembrance Books.  These are open to anyone who would like to have their child remembered in this way ... from babies lost from conception onwards for whatever reason and however long ago to children and young people of any age.

During these years of learning from and working with bereaved families and children, my vision for the 'Seeds of Hope' Childrens Garden took shape.  The next step was to register as a national charity in order to begin fund raising in earnest to turn that vision into a reality.  It took 13 years but in 2008 the Garden was officially opened!

 

There are four areas, each one representing a season ....

 

The Spring Garden - a garden of hope


Here the trees are full of blossom and bulbs burst out of the ground.  Colour returns after the drab days of winter, life begins again, baby birds are born in the bird boxes and new leaves appear on the trees, a reminder that death and loss can be a beginning as well as an end.


roses The Summer Garden - a garden of light
  
 This garden is full of colourful flowers in summer, many with beautiful scents, reminding us that even in very sad times when someone we love has died, there are happy times too when the world is bright and it's OK to have fun.
 

 

The Seeds of Hope Sculpture sculpture sign
   
The sculpture in the centre of the Summer Garden represents the spirit of childhood.  A girl is making dandelion seeds fly for a young boy who is catching them.  Childhood should be about having fun but time passes and nothing ever stays the same.  Sad things happen.  All living things eventually die but their essence lives on in the new life that grows from the seeds of the old.

 

The Autumn Garden - a garden of change

The trees and plants produce fruits and turn rich yellows, reds and golds showing how the outside shape of things becomes different with time.  A bud becomes a flower, a flower becomes a fruit and the fruit eventually drops from the tree.  But in the fruit are the seeds from which new life will grow.  Life is a journey full of change. 


labyrinth The Winter Garden - a garden of thoughtfulness
 
 Like the early days after loss, everything is very hard and there's no sign of colour.  There is a sense of 'going inward', of things happening inside with no outward show of what's going on.  The plants are gathering strength for new life to come.  A  labyrinth represents a journey through life from birth to death.  We survive.  Things change but more colourful times are on the way.  Spring is coming.



 Anyone anywhere who would like to can plant a flower in  ... 

 

                          The Seeds of Hope Memory Meadow

This is an online meadow where a child or an adult can plant a virtual flower and write a message in memory of someone who has died.   

Go to http://www.seedsofhopechildrensgarden.co.uk and click on the Memory Meadow button to find the meadow.

 

Pack kids drawing 1

 

 

 

 


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