Local woman calls for brides to donate old wedding dresses for baby burial gowns

An Angus woman has called on brides to help families get through one of the hardest times they can face.

Helen Farquharson, from Kirriemuir, got married in 2015 and like many brides she then put her wedding dress away in a cupboard.

But the 45-year-old heard that dresses could be turned into funeral gowns for babies who do not survive birth.

National charities take dresses and make them into gowns for use across the UK but there can be long waiting lists, which may put off some people off.

Helen, who works at Angus Care and Repair in Forfar, wanted to make sure the dresses went to local families who have experienced loss.

Helen Farquharson and the burial gowns that have been created from her wedding dress
Helen Farquharson and the burial gowns that have been created from her wedding dress

She said: “It was made with love, it was worn with love and I know that’s how these mums will feel.”

Helen, who has a grown-up son, asked an acquaintance to have gowns made and got in touch with Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity.

The charity contacted NHS Tayside and asked whether the gowns would be accepted, and they will be delivered to Ninewells this week.

“I got married 18 months ago and have just had my wedding dress made into burial gowns to be donated to the Tulip Suite at Ninewells Hospital,” said Helen.

“I contacted Sands to confirm that if I arranged to have the gowns made, then Ninewells would accept them.

“I’m hoping other brides or anyone who has a dress in their cupboard will consider doing the same.

“It was important to me to know where the gowns would go.”

The Tulip Suite (Tayside Unit for Loss in Pregnancy) opened in 2010 as a dedicated bereavement suite where mums can give birth and then spend time with their baby.

Sands supports those affected by the death of a baby, improving the bereavement care received by parents and families, and promotes research to reduce the number of babies dying.

NHS Tayside midwifery team manager Phyllis Winters said: “We would like to thank Helen for her kind donation.

“It is very thoughtful of her to take the time to help make what is a very upsetting period for bereaved families just a little better.”