I had failed to get adequate direction to which part of the cemetery we needed to be in so there was some confused driving of the five-strong, somewhat cramped crew around the narrow wooded paths before we found the right place at the bottom of a slope, under a wrought iron gate.
With rows of tiny graves, each engraved headstone at ankle height, many lavishly decorated with mini Christmas trees, baubles and soft toys, all with a glistening of frost. Paths quarter the circle, leading to a tree and a circular bench. Each quarter represents a season.
We unload the equipment and begin to set up, trying to remain respectfully unobtrusive.
Lou arrives and with her comes a flurry of activity and industry, the local babyloss community, brought together by Derby Sands, by Lou, is a friendly and welcoming one. As they set up the decorations and chat, Balloons, LED tealights and programmes soon adorn the benches and pathways.
A van arrives, bringing elegantly caged white doves as a tearful and diverse congregation gathers.
It’s a beautiful and touching event, It’s obvious how important it is for the people there, how difficult Xmas is for them, in particular, for them.
The dedications read, fathers are invited to participate in the culminating event, to hold and release a dove. This is the moment that Lou has been waiting for. The Dove Release. The moment the glorious white birds would flutter elegantly from the upheld hands of the throng to fly in a circle over the cemetery and return before away. But not these doves.To be fair, it was cold and if I had been a dove, unaware of the significance of my duty, unaware of the sorrow below me, I might’ve headed for the coop like it was closing time, too.
We had a great experience of this service and met some wonderful people. Our heartfelt thanks to all concerned, especially Louisa Evans.
The crew on the day were Emma Dalesman, our hard as nails, smooth as silk, kind as comfort Director of Photography, Rob Newman, sound recordist, Jaqui Bellamy, our excellent stills photographer and Thomas Corden, proactive Production Assistant, supporter and all rounder- wonderful team mate, and what a team we were!