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Baby bereavement group ‘overwhelmed’ by support after tree vandalised in Ipswich’s Holywells Park

PUBLISHED: 12:04 22 May 2017 | UPDATED: 14:06 22 May 2017

Parents heartbroken by 'mindless vandalism' of baby bereavement tree in Hollywells Park. Pictured is Holly Brewin. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Parents heartbroken by 'mindless vandalism' of baby bereavement tree in Hollywells Park. Pictured is Holly Brewin. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Members of an Ipswich baby bereavement group have said they are overwhelmed by support given to them after their memorial tree was vandalised in Holywells Park.

Parents heartbroken by 'mindless vandalism' of baby bereavement tree in Holywells Park. Left to right, Ali Brett, Laura Houlden, Annie Oliver, Holly Brewin, Michelle Austin. Picture: GREGG BROWNParents heartbroken by 'mindless vandalism' of baby bereavement tree in Holywells Park. Left to right, Ali Brett, Laura Houlden, Annie Oliver, Holly Brewin, Michelle Austin. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Brass leaves attached to the Tree of Remembrance – each displaying the name and date of birth of babies who died during pregnancy, childbirth or afterwards – were damaged and broken off in the park’s memorial garden earlier this year.

Ever since heartbroken parents spoke out about the damage, donations and messages have been pouring into the Ipswich Hospital Baby Bereavement Group, who own the tree.

Bereavement midwife Ali Brett said: “It really has been great to have people coming forward and being so generous.

“We’ve had several offers from people wanting to replace the leaves and pledging their support for parents.

Parents heartbroken by 'mindless vandalism' of baby bereavement tree in Hollywells Park. Picture: GREGG BROWNParents heartbroken by 'mindless vandalism' of baby bereavement tree in Hollywells Park. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“It just goes to show that good things can sometimes come out of bad ones, but we are not finished yet. We are in the process of trying to make sure there is adequate protection for the tree.

“We are looking into and talking with the park about putting up more CCTV to secure the area.

She added: “For lots of parents it is a special place for them to go to remember their babies.”

Ms Brett and her colleagues will be talking to park rangers and police this week about the possibility of adding extra protection such as CCTV and clear signs to make the garden and the tree a safer place for parents and families to grieve.

“It’s about making the area a peaceful place for parents again really,” she said.

“They are our priority and it has been a very difficult time for all of us.

“The focus for us now is to continue working with the police and other agencies to try and ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

Ipswich East police teams, the National Citizens Service and generous members of the public are among groups who have offered the charity help after the tree was damaged.

Ms Brett added: “It has been overwhelming, all the support, just great.

“I would like to thank everyone who has been in touch and want to assure people that something is being done about this.”

• Police are continuing to appeal for information about the damage.

Call Suffolk police on 101 quoting reference number 34382/17 with information.


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