Oldham Civic Centre and Royal Oldham Hospital will be illuminated pink and blue to show support for Baby Loss Awareness Week (October 9-15) with memorial events taking place at the hospital.

Sixty charities across the UK have formed the national week to raise awareness about the key issues affecting those who have experienced pregnancy loss or baby death in the UK.

Families who have lost a baby through stillbirth or after birth are being invited to a special Baby Memorial Service at The Royal Oldham Hospital.

The service will be held in the Education Centre at the hospital on Thursday (October 11), at 7pm and the hospital’s Spiritual Care Team welcome all who wish to attend.

Hospital staff have been working hard to set up a memorial garden on site for bereaved families to place a pot of flowers or a plant in memory of their lost loved one.

Dexter’s Garden will be officially launched on Monday (October 15), from noon to 2pm, on Westhulme Street, near to the Diabetes Centre at the B&Q end of the hospital site.

Dexter’s Garden is the brainchild of Katie Bowker, a midwife in the Maternity Department at the Royal Oldham Hospital.

The project is a personal one and very close to Katie’s heart, and is a tribute to her son Dexter, who passed away shortly after birth in November 2016.

Katie said: “The idea behind Dexter’s Garden is to provide a special place for families who have lost a baby at any stage of pregnancy and after birth.

"I want to provide a safe, quiet place for families where they can reflect, mourn and pay tribute to their angel babies – a place that is calm, serene and beautiful. I hope that families will help treasure Dexter’s Garden by leaving their own memorial planter.”

The launch will be followed by a special evening event organised by the SANDS charity, from 6.30-7.30pm.

This event will create a 'Wave of Light' and families are invited to bring along a candle to hold during the ceremony. At the same time, thousands across the country will light a candle in solidarity.

The Rochdale Road-end of the Civic Centre tower in Oldham town centre and Royal Oldham Hospital’s signage at the front of the site will be lit up in the colours throughout the week.

Councillor Amanda Chadderton, Cabinet Member for Children Services, said: “Oldham Council hopes by lighting the Rochdale Road-end of the Civic Centre it will show a message of support to the sixty charities and our friends at Royal Oldham Hospital, as well as giving local bereaved parents and families an opportunity to talk about their precious loved ones.

“Baby loss is very close to many of our hearts affecting thousands of people every year. We know it is devastating for parents and families and it’s vital that we highlight that there’s bereavement support and care out there and those that need it can access it for as long as they need it.”

Anyone who would like further details on the memorial service should contact the chaplaincy and spiritual care team at The Royal Oldham Hospital on 0161 627 8796.

For further information about Baby Loss Awareness Week visit: www.babyloss-awareness.org and for the memorial events at Royal Oldham Hospital visit: www.pat.nhs.uk/get-involved/events.htm

The Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (SANDS) offers support for families who have faced stillbirth or neo-natal deaths. They can be contacted on 020 7436 5881 or online at www.uk-sands.org

Anyone can share their photos on social media tagged #BLAW2018.