Bereaved families come together for butterfly release

Lois Maclean from Taynuilt sets free her butterfly. Picture: Kevin McGlynn

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Oban and Argyll families have come together for a poignant ceremony to release butterflies in memory of their late infants.

Organised by the charity SiMBA (the Simpson’s Memory Box Appeal), the event was held at Dunollie.

When a baby dies, whether because of miscarriage, stillbirth or neo-natal causes, a family has very few memories to sustain and comfort them through a lifetime of missing their baby.

SiMBA is a charity that was established in 2005 by Sara Fitzsimmons, a midwife in Edinburgh, to respond to the needs of those affected by the death of a baby.

SiMBA is all about memories – supporting families to gather precious memories of the short time their baby was here, aiding health professionals to join families in their hardest times, and offering ongoing support.

In Oban, SiMBA has been supplying memory boxes across the area since 2011 and has been hosting a monthly support group since 2013.

One of the ways in which SiMBA endeavours to support bereaved families is through its annual butterfly releases. These poignant events bring families together in mutual support and understanding as each releases a live butterfly. As the butterflies take to the air they carry with them the loving thoughts of the family member who released it.

This year sees butterfly releases in a number of places, including Stornoway, Fort William, Oban and Lochgilphead.

This year was the fourth butterfly release in Oban and organisers teamed up with Dunollie House to host the event at the Willow Garden.

As families gathered to release their butterflies, volunteers read poems especially picked for this year’s releases. The Ladies Sequence Choir also took part in this year’s release.