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Butterfly Garden

A butterfly plaque can be a fitting tribute to an infant loss.

Butterfly Baby Garden of Rest

The dedicated Butterfly Garden was the first of its kind when constructed in the late 1990’s. It provides a tranquil place of reflection and contemplation in memory of all babies cremated at Bournemouth Crematorium.

You can order a butterfly memorial plaque inscribed with your personal message to be placed in the butterfly garden (scroll down for details and pricing). Just return it to us with your payment. We’ll let you know when your plaque is ready so you can come and see it in the garden.

History of our Butterfly Garden

Julie Dunk, Chief Executive of the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM) and former Bournemouth Crematorium Manager describes the Butterfly Garden for us:

‘’The butterfly garden was something that I introduced to tie into the memorial service for babies that I also introduced for Poole and Bournemouth Hospitals. This is something that Jane Lloyd, the ex-hospital chaplain, had been wanting for a long time, and on my first day at Bournemouth in 1997 Jane rang me and asked if it would be possible to introduce a baby service. I said yes straight away, and it took us probably two years to actually implement, but we got there in the end. The idea was that all babies who died in Poole or Bournemouth, regardless of their gestation, could be cremated at Bournemouth (subject to the parents’ approval). Very young babies would be cremated together, or individually if the parents preferred. Stillborn babies would be cremated individually. A monthly service would be held, which anyone could attend. Ashes from communal cremations, or from individual cremations if that’s what the parents wanted, would be scattered in a special garden.

We had the idea of a butterfly garden to match the service. When families arrived for the service, they were given a card butterfly and some pens and crayons. They could then spend some time colouring in their butterfly or writing a message on it to their baby. During the service, parents were invited to come up to the catafalque to place their butterfly with the coffin, and the cards would be cremated with the coffins. As the parents left the catafalque, they were invited to take a polished pebble from a basket. They could then keep that pebble, and if and when they felt ready, they could return to the garden to place their pebble there, if they wanted. That’s why we chose a wooden butterfly for the garden, as a symbol of all the babies lost, and also for siblings to climb or sit on. We planted butterfly-attracting plants (Blue sponsored the first buddleia plants), and had a pebble garden (where pebbles from the service could be placed), with a small water fountain to give a peaceful sound. An architect from the parks department helped design the garden, which was intended to be peaceful, fairly private, and a lovely place for families to come and spend some time. Initially, we weren’t going to have memorials, but that changed over time. Linda introduced the butterfly memorials there after I left.

We held an opening ceremony, which was well attended and generated great publicity. I think the Mayor opened the garden, and there were various dignitaries from Poole and Bournemouth Hospital, as well as the Council.

It remains something that I was very proud to have developed, and I know from personal experience that it has helped countless families.’’

Butterfly plaques are made from polished granite each measuring 9’’ (about 23cm) x 7’’ (about 17.5cm) and come with a spiral attachment which twists into the ground, offering a stable, secure, and rustproof fixing.

Inscriptions can be in white or gold and there’s a choice of colours for the butterfly plaque:

  • lavender blue
  • blue pearl
  • tropical brown
  • imperial green
  • imperial red.

How to order your butterfly plaque

Please check the terms and conditions on the application form before ordering your butterfly plaque. Download the application form.

The latest prices for the butterfly plaques can be found in our current price list.

Support for the Bereaved

You can read about the guidance on our webpage, or download our Baby & Infant Funerals guidance leaflet. If you, or someone you know, is in need of extra support during this difficult time, there are some organisations that can help.