First public candle lighting ceremony in Birmingham.
This week marks the sixteenth Baby Loss Awareness Week, and the Mariposa Trust is hosting its first candle lighting ceremony in the West Midlands to support local families who have experienced loss. Taking place on Monday 15 October, the charity wants to bring people together to remember their babies and raise awareness of a subject still not talked about widely enough in society.
To coincide with ‘Wave of Light’, the global campaign that aims to unite families across the world by lighting a candle or posting a photo of a candle using the hashtag #WaveofLight, Mariposa Trust is hosting a candle lighting ceremony at Umberslade Farm in Tanworth-in-Arden. The event welcomes women, men, children and wider family members who have experienced baby loss during any stage of pregnancy, at birth or in infancy, giving them the opportunity to honour and remember their babies.
Claudia Matthews, who was supported by the charity after losing six babies, is part of a team helping to raise awareness and funds for the Mariposa Trust across the West Midlands region. She comments:
“This is going to be such an incredible but emotional evening, as we all come together to remember our beautiful angel babies; lighting a candle for every baby that has been lost as the night sky falls. I know all too well that this is a private time for families, but it’s also so powerful to meet people who have experienced similar loss and come together. It is also a way for your family to be involved and feel like they can help you remember and grieve.
“We’ve planned a really informal ceremony – open to everyone and without any religious focus – and we’ll also have some poetry and music during the evening to mark the occasion. Starting at 7pm, we want people to join us for our very own Wave of Light as we stand in the shape of a butterfly to remember our beautiful angel babies in a way that shows people they’re not alone.”
It is estimated that one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage and Claudia is keen to raise awareness of how to support someone through the loss of a child and encourage people to talk about their experiences. Following her own tragic loss, Claudia was introduced to Zoe Clark Coates, who founded the charity Mariposa Trust with her husband. The charity works with people who have suffered the loss of a child at any stage of pregnancy, at birth or in infancy, and the support it offers reaches over 50,000 people each week.
The charity is almost six years old, but due to its huge public and celebrity following, has become a leading commentator in the field, and is the go-to agency for support. Its celebrity Ambassadors and Advocates include the likes of Professor Lord Robert Winston, Nigella Lawson, Jools Oliver, Mary Nightingale, Gabby Logan, Caroline Quentin, Sally Phillips, Kym Marsh and Sarah Hadland. In addition to this, co-founder Zoe now co-chairs the government’s National Pregnancy Loss Review and has also written a booked called Saying Goodbye to support people going through this experience.
The Saying Goodbye Baby Loss Awareness Week Candle Lighting will take place on Monday 15th October at 7:00pm, at Umberslade Farm (events field), Butts Lane, Tanworth in Arden, B94 5AE. The event is free to attend but the charity has asked people to sign up via Facebook so that they can predict numbers and candles required. There is also a local fundraising page to help support the Mariposa Trust.