Butterfly Garden to open to public at Doncaster Royal Infirmary

On Thursday 11 October, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) will formally open its long-awaited Butterfly Garden.

A place dedicated to providing comfort to those who have experienced the loss of an infant, the tranquil venue will also be available to anyone who is need of a quiet place to think.

The project is the brainchild of DBTH’s Neonatal team, who first came up with the idea back in 1997, originally conceived as a memorial space that would be dedicated to those who have experienced a miscarriage, still birth or neonatal death. The intention was for this to be somewhere that families could reflect and find solace. Over time however, the garden has evolved into a site that is suitable for more general use.

Headway on this remained dormant for a period of time, until progress was dramatically reignited four years ago, spurred on by encouraging patient feedback and overwhelming enthusiasm. In response to this, staff at the Trust, working with the Grace Project and bereaved families, organised several fundraising events and activities. The purpose of this was to pull together money for the garden’s construction and eventual maintenance.  Costing £15,000, much of this was raised by local well-wishers, with additional funding provided by DBTH.

Critical to these efforts was Kaye Bulliman, Midwife at Doncaster Royal Infirmary (DRI), who, with the aid of the choir ‘Simply Voices’, helped to raise £3,000. Speaking about the garden, Kaye said: ‘’This has been a passion-project for many current members of Team DBTH, including Sarah Spencer, Neonatal Unit Sister and Sarah Newton, Community Midwife, as well as our former colleagues Nick Kerry and Chloe Tedaldi. Each of them was instrumental in coming up with the idea for the garden and guiding it towards completion, so it’s absolutely fantastic to see their dream finally come to fruition. Of course, we couldn’t have done it without the generous support and tireless efforts of the families involved, as well as our own Estates and Facilities team, who have done so much make this vision a reality.’’

Now that the garden is ready for unveiling to the public, the Trust has arranged a formal opening to take place on 11 October. There, visitors will be able to explore the peaceful and intimate environment, surrounded by ornate flora, rose arches, a Gazebo, decorative pebble formations and plenty of seating.

Trust Chair, Suzy Brain England OBE, will be on hand to cut the ribbon and formally open the garden to the public. Anticipating the occasion, Suzy said: ‘’I am pleased to be part of this event, as I know how important it is to everyone involved. A great deal of effort went into fund raising, designing and building this special memorial space. I am proud of what has been accomplished and of the opportunity this now gives to bereaved parents. I am sure that this garden will be of great value to our visitors, whatever they are going through.’’

The opening ceremony will take place at 1pm on Thursday 11 October in the Butterfly Garden, which is situated in the grounds of DRI, just outside of A Block.