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WATCH: Inverness welcomes Walk of Light to highlight Baby Loss Awareness Week

By Annabelle Gauntlett

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Photos in remembrance of Amber Sonley
Photos in remembrance of Amber Sonley

The charity Held In Our Hearts and dozens of Invernessians paid tribute to all the babies who tragically died this year with a Walk of Light along the River Ness.

This marks the 21st anniversary of Baby Loss Awareness Week in the UK – a week for everyone in the baby loss community and beyond to come together to remember much loved and missed babies.

Whilst Held In Our Hearts was founded as a charity over 40 years ago, they only formed a base in Inverness earlier this year, making the Walk of Light a city first.

The fundraiser aimed to present an opportunity to connect with the community of bereaved parents that the charity supports and for others to show their solidarity through taking part to raise vital funds for their work.

This year’s theme was ‘Stepping Stones,’ as the Held In Our Hearts team know from experience that after the loss of a precious baby, bereaved parents and families find themselves on a new path they never expected to be on. This year, they will focus on the steps along that journey, and how some steps can feel harder than others.

The Walk of Light is in conjunction with the Global Wave of Light, which is an annual observance that honours and remembers babies who have died during pregnancy, childbirth, or infancy.

Around 45 people took part in the Walk of Light this year, which started at the Glen Mhor Hotel and finished at the Ness Islands where a moment of silence was held and candles were laid in remembrance.

Lindsay Donaldson, peer support and hospital liaison, said: "The Walk of Light is a time for bereaved families to not sit in isolation when lighting a candle for their little ones, and is something we wanted to emulate up here in Inverness."

Jacqui Heasley, head of fundraising said: "We have only been running our services in Inverness for a matter of months, but the response and the referrals, and the feedback has been phenomenal.

"We know that the service we are providing is so valued, and with the amount of people coming through to us shows that it is needed. So, to have the walk here shows how much our families need to be apart of the community that is celebrating the Wave of Light."

Bereaved families placed a candle in remembrance of their loved ones
Bereaved families placed a candle in remembrance of their loved ones

Lindsay added: "It is our first year of walking and I can honestly say that a lot of the families we support came on the walk which was lovely to see, but it's also been well attended by people we don't support which just shows the need for the walk."

Nicola Welsh, chief executive officer of Held In Our Hearts, said: “As a bereaved parent myself I know how hard that walk was and still can be, living without my son, Theo.

"For the families that we support, we know that each step they have to make can take a momentous amount of energy and courage – that first step out of hospital without their baby, that first step out of the front door, walking through the doors on their return to work.

"We are asking as many people as possible to get involved in Baby Loss Awareness Week and help ensure we can continue to walk alongside bereaved families, providing a lifeline through our specialist counselling and peer support”.

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