Supporting anyone affected by the tragic death of a baby



A project has been launched by Oxfordshire City Council, the John Radcliffe hospital and Oxfordshire Sands to improve the Sands Memorial Garden at the Headington Cemetery, following feedback from bereaved families that the garden is beginning to look unkempt and is lacking dignity and respect.

The Garden is very important to those whose babies are buried there and those who use it as a place to visit and remember.  It therefore needs to be a calm and beautiful place to visit. The aim is to lay a new path, provide new benches and install a notice board with useful information for bereaved parents.  It is also hoped that there will be a system for removing floral displays once their condition deteriorates.

Many parents find a great deal of comfort in placing mementos and keepsakes at the memorial for their babies.  Unfortunately, lots of these deteriorate, which can cause distress to bereaved parents. While the improvements are made, the mementos have been removed and carefully stored at the cemetery office in Cutterslow Park. If you would like to collect anything being stored, please ring 01865 252516. Keepsakes will continue to be removed at the beginning of each month.

We understand that this may be distressing for relatives whose items have been moved, but we hope that people will see the benefit of the improvements for the whole community.

Support is available through Oxfordshire Sands who work with bereaved families.

The joint committee is really keen that the Garden is restored to a place of beauty and calm so that those attending funerals, visiting graves or just taking time to think, can find peace and comfort there.

December 2017 UPDATE:

Message from Oxford Cemetery: In order to keep the Memorial Garden a pleasant and peaceful area we ask all visitors to adhere to the below regulations:SANDS Memorial Garden Regulations

  • We ask all visitors to the garden not to place glass items as they pose a health and safety risk. If any glass items are found they will be removed and disposed of.
  • Please do not plant flowers /shrubs or place planters in the memorial garden as they can be resting on existing graves or taking space for future graves.
  • Any perishable keep sakes such as Teddy bears will be inspected monthly. If they have fallen in to disrepair they will be removed and disposed of at the discretion of the Cemeteries Service.
  • Flowers which have decayed will be removed at the discretion of the Cemeteries Service.
  • Please do not place frames, chippings and keep sakes behind memorial plaques as it inhibits the maintenance of the garden, any keepsakes/items behind memorial plaques will be removed.
  • Please be aware that all items left around the Sands Star after Sands Interments will be cleared within a month.

Thank you for your co-operation.

Cemeteries Service, Harbord Road, Oxford, OX2 8ES.

01865 252516


Oxfordshire Sands (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity) is a volunteer-led group dedicated to providing help and support for anyone affected by the tragic death of a baby.  As a local branch of National Sands we support bereaved families across Oxfordshire including the areas covered by the John Radcliffe (Oxford) and Horton (Banbury) hospitals.

As bereaved parents ourselves, we understand the devastation and grief surrounding the loss of a baby.  Our befriender service can be accessed via telephone and email, providing support and information for parents, families and friends.

We hold regular, informal group meetings, where individual stories can be shared and support and advice offered.  Many bereaved parents find that the chance to openly talk to people who have also lost a baby is a lifeline, because somebody else really does understand what they are going through.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch, we are always here to listen and offer our support.

All support is much appreciated indeed; click here to see where the money goes.

Next Group Meeting

Wednesday 6th February


Kingsmere Community Centre, Bicester



It was wonderful to see so many of you at our annual service of remembering and sharing. We hope you gained some comfort from being there. Continue Reading

Charity registration number 299679

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