Home   News   Article

Baby loss charity plan 'Tree of Tranquillity' in Thurso


By David G Scott

Easier access to your trusted, local news. Subscribe to a digital package and support local news publishing.



Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!

A planning proposal has been put forward to Highland Council for a sculpted tree to be placed in Thurso to help grieving parents come to terms with the loss of a baby.

Thurso Community Council has agreed to co-ordinate the planning and assist with the project on behalf of the Vilomah charity which was set up this year to support bereaved families in Caithness and North Sutherland.

Tracey Ann McGeachin and Christine Hoggett, co-founders of Vilomah, said in a joint statement: "We are dedicated to bring a memorial Tree of Tranquility to honour all the babies that have died before, during or after birth to Caithness as previously planned during our volunteering with SiMBA and will be working in partnership with SiMBA to make this a reality."

Copper sculpture similar to the one planned for Thurso.
Copper sculpture similar to the one planned for Thurso.

Related article: Release a butterfly in memory of a baby

In their design and project statement, the two women say they have volunteered with SiMBA baby loss charity for the last nine years and alongside the local community have raised money for the Tree of Tranquillity for Thurso and surrounding area. When the future of SiMBA was in doubt at the beginning of the year, they decided to set up a local charity called Vilomah to try and keep the money safe.

"Vilomah is working in partnership with SiMBA and once the tree is installed, we as Vilomah will take control of the project going forward," said Tracey Ann.

Engraved labels like these will be attached to the tree by bereaved parents to bring it to 'life' with leaves and butterflies. .
Engraved labels like these will be attached to the tree by bereaved parents to bring it to 'life' with leaves and butterflies. .

The tree will be life-sized and sculpted leaves will be attached by grieving parents with baby names, a date of birth or a message. There are four volunteer trustees for Vilomah including Ellie Lamont chair; Andrew MacKay vice chair; Chris Parkinson treasurer; and Struan Mackie trustee. Chris Parkinson, from the Castle of Mey Gardens, walked around the site at Lady Thurso Garden and advised how best the sculpture be placed within the area and benches sited for "people to sit and reflect". Some of the flower beds may also be replanted to bring colour to the garden and make it "welcoming and comforting" to people sitting with family who will be reflecting on their loss.

The Vilomah charity states: "The Tree of Tranquillity is not just for the newly bereaved but also parents who sadly lost their baby years ago and were perhaps provided with little or no recognition of their baby’s existence.

Plan lodged with Highland Council showing where the tree will be sited at Lady Thurso Gardens.
Plan lodged with Highland Council showing where the tree will be sited at Lady Thurso Gardens.

"The tree provides the means to express a private and public declaration in memory of the lost hopes and dreams for our babies. It is a beautiful symbol of remembrance, that effectively ‘grows’ as leaves are added."

Copper is used for its ease of sculpting into tree and branch shapes and the fact that it naturally ages. "So it's initially a bright shiny metal and within a short time it becomes more rustic, therefore representing the look of a real tree. The person attaching the leaves to the tree uses a silver brazing technique which attaches the leaves securely to the tree giving less room for any attempt, if made, to remove a leaf."

More detailed plan of the site showing where the tree will be erected.
More detailed plan of the site showing where the tree will be erected.

The Rotary Club of Thurso agreed to pull together the required documents and information and will submit the planning on behalf of the town's community council. The Rotary Club has also agreed to fund the planning fee of on behalf of Vilomah for the project. A local architect has also drawn up the plans for free.

Vilomah is a Sanskrit word which means "against natural order" and also can also mean "bereaved parent". The Vilomah charity is specifically for the Caithness and Sutherland area and will continue to host the annual Butterfly Release and Wave of Light as previously done with SiMBA volunteers. Tracey Ann and Christine say they will be working in partnership with SiMBA to make the Tree of Tranquility a reality. There is a Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100064896422200

Charity dance poster.
Charity dance poster.

In pursuit of their funding goals there will be a charity dance at Mackays Hotel in Wick on Saturday, November 25 at 7.30pm. Entertainment is by Whisky and there will be a buffet and raffle. For more info email info@vilomah.org.uk or visit the Vilomah Facebook page. The organisation thanks Duncan Mclachlan of Studiograff Photography for designing the logo and for the poster design which was free of charge.

Tickets are priced at £20.


Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More