Poignant memory garden supports grieving families
Eva’s Little Stars at St Nicholas Church, set up by Averil Pinckney, is a memory garden for babies lost at birth.
5th May 2021
By Suzanne Cleave
A memory garden in the grounds of St Stephens Church in Saltash is giving hope to families who have gone through the devastating experience of losing a child at birth.
Eva’s Little Stars was set up by Averil Pinckney six years ago, after her first grandchild, Eva, was stillborn in October 2010.
Eva was a beautiful, healthy baby girl, but there was no reason as to why she was born sleeping, which left her parents and family heartbroken.
Averil set up the charity to help others in the same situation, saying: “Nobody can prepare you for the loss of a baby and we want to help.”
At the time Averil was living in Portsmouth and her daughter was in Saltash, and she knew when she relocated that she wanted to do something to help.
“I said when I moved, I would start off a foundation from there.”
She started off by talking to the council to see if they could put a bench in the grounds of St Stephens Church in memory of babies born sleeping.
She soon realised there were many other families affected.
“One day I was selling things in the church and a lady came up to me and said her baby would have been 61 if they had survived. In those days, people had nowhere to go.”
As well as the bench, Averil has created a memory garden, and she extended her thanks to the many people who have offered to help. On the benches, as well as a plaque which reads: ‘For the ones we lost’, people can choose to have a little star attached, engraved with the child’s name and date of birth.
People can also place cloud pebbles in the memorial garden and pick up cherubs that are left there. There is also a rose called ‘Sweet Child of Mine’, in memories of the babies born up to 24-weeks gestation.
Averil said: “It’s lovely the amount of comfort it brings.”
Through fundraising and online sales, Averil continues to be able to help grieving families through Eva’s Little Stars.
This can be anything from money towards food, flowers, mortgage payments.
Other people have also helped with fundraising, with Averil’s son running four miles every four hours for 48 hours. He raised over £3,000.
“People also donate unwanted items to me, and I sell them online,” she added.
“Every penny counts. It’s going really well. People have been very, very kind. It’s bringing a lot of comfort. It’s supposed to be just for people in Saltash but I’m sure there’s a star there for people who moved to Australia.
“A lot of them are from a long time ago when it wasn’t spoken about. There’s room for more stars on the bench, and there might be a time when we work for another bench. It’s very peaceful down there.
“It’s a lovely place to go. It does help. It helps me and it helps other people.”
For more information on Eva’s Stars Foundation, how you can make a donation or to get in touch with Averil, visit the Facebook page Eva’s Little Stars.