THE memory of a 14-year-old boy who went to bed healthy but ‘never woke up’ is helping to inspire councils across the country to create a space for grieving parents to remember their children.
Lucas Fleetwood, a Darton Academy student, died on September 6, 2019.
He had gone to bed following his first day back at school but could not be woken by his mum, Stacey, the following morning.
Lucas had an extremely rare condition – congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries (CCTGA) – which affects one in every 200,000 people.
In his memory, parents Daniel and Stacey created a memorial garden within the Barnsley Crematorium grounds as a place where grieving families can go and remember their loved ones.
The ‘Forget You Not Garden’ was officially opened in June this year, and Daniel revealed the space has helped many families from across the borough to deal with their grief.
“We go to the garden almost every day,” said Daniel, of Brattice Way, Mapplewell. “We see parents who are in the same position as us and it helps us to help each other since we know what it is like to lose a child.
“Losing Lucas was devastating for us, but working on the garden has really helped us to grieve and remember our son.”
A new purple light has been installed near to the memory box – which encourages visitors to write a message to their loved one on seed-infused paper which is then planted around the site to help keep it in bloom.
Purple was Lucas’ favourite colour, and Daniel and Stacey found it fitting to include the purple light in the garden.
“We knew we always wanted to put a light there but now that the nights are getting darker we sort of hurried along the process,” added Daniel. “The purple light is really calming so it’s quite a nice space to be able to remember someone.”
Recently, Daniel has been in talks with Hull-based company The Columbaria Company who helped to provide the statues found within the garden.
They hope to install similar memory gardens across the country – and already have interest from nearby councils.
“I know that three councils are interested in making a garden modelled on the one we created for Lucas,” added Daniel. “It’s a nice positive to come out of it that Lucas can help other parents during a really dark period of their lives.
“I know that even when I am gone, Lucas’ name will live on, and that makes me so proud of him.”
Daniel and Stacey have been shortlisted in the Proud of Barnsley awards in the Triumph Over Adversity category for their work creating the garden.