Tree sculpture will remember babies gone too soon

Dunollie Castle is looking for new trustees to join its charity board 16_T19-Dunolliecastle

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A life-sized copper sculpture of a tree is to take root in a garden at Dunollie Castle so Oban families can honour their babies who have gone too soon.

Dunollie Museum, Castle and Grounds are working with baby loss charity SiMBA to put the special Tree of Tranquillity in a sheltered, quiet garden area of the grounds.

Susan Simpson from SiMBA, helping  families create precious memories of their babies, said: ‘We are so grateful for the vision of Dunollie’s trustees and their head gardener Eilidh McManus, who have chosen a special area of the estate for the tree.’

Students from Oban High School’s Junior Pathways programme have also been helping get the garden ready and MP Brendan O’Hara and councillors Julie McKenzie and Roddy McCuish have supported the project since it was first brought to Dunollie’s attention in 2015.

Fundraising is ongoing to help create a natural seating and a path to make it easier to reach the tree. To help, people can either email fundraising@simbacharity.org.uk or donate directly at justgiving.com/campaign/ObanTreeofTranquillity

There are similar trees in Glasgow, Inverness, Edinburgh, Orkney, Tayside, the Borders and Airedale in Yorkshire.

SiMBA’s hope is to have a tree in every maternity district so anyone who has ever suffered the loss of a baby can attach a leaf, engraved with a special message, to a tree close to their home.

Families can go to simbacharity.org.uk/what-we-do/trees-of-tranquillity to request a leaf to get engraved themselves then send it back to the charity in an envelope provided. The leaves are added to the tree at regular intervals.

‘The Tree of Tranquillity is not just for the newly-bereaved but also parents who sadly lost their baby years ago and were perhaps provided with little or no recognition of their baby’s existence. The tree will provide the means to express a private and public declaration in memory of the lost hopes and dreams for the baby. It is a beautiful symbol of remembrance,’ said Susan.