CHICHESTER CATHEDRAL TO HOST THE SEVENTH ‘SAYING GOODBYE’SERVICE OF REMEMBRANCE OUT OF 28 INTERNATIONAL SERVICES IN 2024.

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CHICHESTER CATHEDRAL TO HOST THE SEVENTH ‘SAYING GOODBYE’SERVICE OF REMEMBRANCE OUT OF 28 INTERNATIONAL SERVICES IN 2024.

Since 2012, global services of remembrance for families, couples and individuals affected by the loss of a baby, whether that be during pregnancy, at birth or in infancy have been held at Cathedrals, Minsters and Abbeys across the UK and beyond. The ‘Saying Goodbye’ services were launched by the Mariposa Trust to provide support to the 30,000,000 individuals, couples and families affected by baby loss each year globally, and they have been vital in helping countless tens of thousands of bereaved families acknowledge and remember the baby or babies that they have lost.

The ‘Saying Goodbye’ services are uplifting and moving events filled with music, poems, acts of remembrance and more. Created more than a decade ago by leading grief expert, author, TV host and campaigner Zoe Clark-Coates MBE and her husband Andy, following their devastating personal journey of five losses, the services provide space and time for families to be able to grieve. They are free to attend and are open to people of any faith or no faith and to those who have lost recently or decades ago. Today the charity’s six divisions provide support to over 50,000 people each week from around the world.

2024 will see over 28 services taking place in seven countries, and Chichester Cathedral in Chichester will host the 7th service of the year on the 11th of May at 11.00 am. Since 2012 over 230 services have taken place.

The charity’s co-founder and CEO Zoe Clark-Coates MBE commented “Our services provide a beautiful opportunity for mothers, fathers, siblings and extended family to say goodbye to their babies and show they are truly loved. Our job at the Mariposa Trust is to ensure every child is recognised, however fleeting their existence.”

Sadly, baby loss affects around 1 in 4 pregnancies yearly in the UK, with nearly 700 babies lost each day. When parents go through the devastating loss of a baby, they often feel isolated and unable to process the overwhelming grief and trauma that miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal and early years’ loss brings. The services allow people to stand with others and collectively acknowledge and remember each life lost.

One parent who attended a service said, “The Saying Goodbye service gave me the time and space to formally recognise all of my babies and the experience of being with people who just knew how it felt was a real strength. As I stood with other parents and proudly rang the bell for my 14 babies, I felt unbearable sadness but also a great privilege to be able to properly celebrate their existence. For the first time, I felt my tears of grief, loss and love were allowed, shared and understood.”

The charity is at the forefront of campaigning for change, with Zoe chairing and authoring the government’s Pregnancy Loss Review in the UK, which saw 73 recommendations to overhaul care and support across the NHS and beyond accepted in 2023. These are in the process of being implemented, which will lead to the clinical care and support available to bereaved parents transformed.

Andy Clark-Coates, the charity’s co-founder and CEO commented, “We invite anyone who has gone through or been affected by baby loss, whether recently or decades ago, to join us for this special event.”

More information on the charity can be found at www.mariposatrust.org and via www.sayinggoodbye.org. The charity has multiple social media pages and can be followed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sayinggoodbyeuk, on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sayinggoodbyeuk, and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/sayinggoodbye_charity.