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Some 80 islanders attended a poignant ceremony in Stornoway to release butterflies in memory of lost babies.


Families gathered at the Lews Castle on Saturday for the first event of its kind in the Western Isles which was organised by Sèimh (Gaelic for gentle peace), a new local group which supports bereaved parents whose baby has died through stillbirth or miscarriage, in collaboration with national charity Simpson’s Memory Box Appeal (SiMBA).


As the lyrics of “In the arms of an angel” were sung by youngster Niamh Smith in front of the castle overlooking Stornoway harbour, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters each carefully opened a small white box to free a specially bred Painted Lady butterfly.


Beforehand there was a gathering for families where individuals could talk about their lost baby and read special poems.


Photos: Bereaved parents release butterflies in remembrance event













Western Isles Hospital midwife Joanne Stewart who is involved with Sèimh said parents found it a “positive experience.”


“It is very much needed and it helps families take the first step in healing.


She explained: “It is very difficult to come out publicly and acknowledge to your friends and family. But within a group that knows what you’ve been through and what has happened, it shows you are not alone.


“There is help available locally where people can sit down and speak to you.”


Susan Simpson, Highland Ambassador for SiMBA who hosted the event said it was “ beautiful to release a living creature which has been bred especially for this in memory of the child you could not take home.”

















SiMBA is gradually increasing the number of such gatherings which “bring families together in mutual support and understanding.


“As the butterflies take to the air they carry with them the loving thoughts of the family member who released it.”


The butterflies are raised in captivity in a sanitary environment so are free from disease which can affect butterfly populations.


Bereaved families are given the opportunity “to come together in a mutual act of remembrance, honouring the memory of the children they could not watch grow up.”


This is important as “when a baby dies a family has very few memories to sustain and comfort them through a lifetime of missing their baby.”


Sèimh meets on the first Tuesday of every month at 7pm in the chaplaincy quiet room at Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway.


Photos: Bereaved parents release butterflies in remembrance event




Family members released butterflies

Butterfly release in memory of lost babies

20 August 2017

Around 80 islanders attended the ceremony