Friends of Serenity: Wife of Coronation Street star backs charity's Tree of Life campaign in Burnley to help families whose babies have died
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Friends of Serenity plans to erect the 4m-high sculpture in the grounds of the Lancashire Women and Newborn Centre (LWNC) to provide a peaceful place for grieving families to remember the babies they have lost.
The wife of a Coronation Street star is backing the Tree of Life campaign following her own “heart-breaking and unfair” experience of miscarriage. Briony, who is married to actor Sam Aston – also known as Chesney Brown on the ITV soap – will take to TV show Loose Women this afternoon to highlight the mission and help raise awareness of this type of bereavement.
"Baby loss is such a taboo subject but during my own losses, I took comfort in other women sharing their stories with me and the Tree of Life campaign will shine a light on the significance of acknowledging all of our losses.”
Briony, a yoga teacher, also plans to take part in the charity’s Tree Pose Challenge to help raise the necessary funds. Similar to 2014’s ice bucket challenge, it will ask participants to post a photo of themselves in the yoga “tree pose”, donate £5 via Friends of Serenity’s website and nominate five other people to do the same, using the hashtag #DoTheTreePose.
The mission has also resonated with other local bereaved parents. Amy Scott, of Barrowford, lost her first baby in 2019.
“Having a garden space at LWNC will be such a welcome addition to families like ours. Often, we can go about our busy lives and taking that time out to stop and reflect is so important – having a dedicated space to do this and bring our living children to visit will be very poignant.”
Nicola Galloway, a Bereavement Specialist Midwife at ELHT, agrees that the special space could help families heal during the grieving process, adding: “Equally, at the time of loss, just to have somewhere peaceful where they can sit and reflect would be a huge benefit to our families all across East Lancashire.”
Friends of Serenity hope the Tree of Life will be in place during Baby Loss Awareness Week and serve as the focal point for the hospital’s annual Wave of Light ceremony on Sunday, October 15th.
Joanne Edwards founded the charity in 2013 with her husband Mark, operations director at Seriun in Barrowford, following the loss of their first son.
“This year marks 10 years since we started the charity, and we knew we had to do something special.
“We are delighted to launch our Tree of Life campaign to fundraise for a much-needed place to remember the lives of our babies who have gone before us, no matter how long ago and we hope for the tree to represent a place of comfort.”
The installation will be a colourful blossom tree designed by Lancashire artist Ruth Moilliet to evolve over time with new flowers. It will be located in the central internal courtyard within the newborn centre.
Donations can be made at www.treeoflifepose.co.uk