A STAFF member of Co-op Funeralcare in Cumnock is set to host a baby memorial service as part of Baby Loss Awareness Week after experiencing her own loss almost 25 years ago.

Colleagues will help funeral arranger Gillian Patrick to organise the service on Saturday, October 16, which will encourage the community to come together to offer support to grieving families.

Inspired by her own heart-breaking story of loss, when her baby daughter was stillborn in 1997, Gillian was determined to commemorate what would have been her 21st birthday, organising the first Baby Memorial Service in 2018.

Alongside colleagues across the Co-op Ayr Care Centre region, Gillian has been hosting these memorial services every year since, with the upcoming event marking its fourth anniversary.

Gillian said: “Having experienced my own devastating loss, I know that sadly many people suffer in silence because it’s a subject that is incredibly hard to talk about.

“We hope that through our work in the community we can raise awareness and encourage people to talk more openly about this topic in a safe and supportive space.

“Parents and families tell us that they want to find a way to remember their baby in a way that suits them and there is no right or wrong way to do this.

“We encourage anyone in the local community, who has experienced any trauma relating to child loss or knows someone who has, to attend the memorial where there will be a chance to seek comfort from others who may have experienced a similar experience.”

The memorial will take place in Cumnock Cemetery’s baby section at 11am.

The local clergy will be in attendance during the service, and guests will then be invited back to St Andrew United Free church hall for refreshments.

Ahead of the ceremony, residents are urged to drop by the branch and collect candles to light during the Global Wave of Light on October 15 at 7pm.