GRIEVING families were relieved by the council’s decision to partially fund repairs to a cemetery today.
The improvements to the baby garden area in Bishopwearmouth Cemetery will include covering the site with pea gravel and the addition of sustainable planting.
There will also be a new footpath approaching the northern and eastern edge of the garden.
Councillors unanimously agreed to make the repairs at this afternoon’s meeting of the West Sunderland Area Committee.
The decision follows the formation of a working partnership between the fundraising group Sleeping Angels and Sunderland City Council.
Kati Bohill, a Sleeping Angels fundraiser and Secretary for the Friends of Bishopwearmouth Baby Garden group, welcomed the move explaining that the experience of visiting the dilapidated site had been “heart-wrenching” for bereaved families.
Families from Sleeping Angels have been appealing to the council since last year to improve the garden, which has fallen into serious disrepair.
The campaigners have complained in the past of having to step over broken plaques and wade through mud to reach the graves.
Kati, who lost her nephew Harry in 2006, spoke of the efforts Sleeping Angels had gone to to raise money for the repairs.
“They did everything from bag-packing and party nights to the Boxing Day dip,” Kati said.
She added that their regular meetings have provided support as well as helping families through their bereavement and that they hope to continue providing assistance and develop further by securing charitable status.
Kati said: “There are some mothers in the group who have opened up about their bereavement after being unable to do so for years and it’s been therapeutic for many of the parents and their families.
“There can be lots of complex issues for people to overcome when they lose a child that unless experienced personally are impossible to comprehend, so the group is really good at helping others through it.”
Sleeping Angels can be contacted via their Facebook page, in addition to the ‘Sunderland Baby Garden’ page on Facebook.#####