A DEDICATED area for bereaved families to remember children is being added to Barnsley Crematorium following fundraising efforts in memory of a Mapplewell teenager.
Darton Academy pupil Lucas Fleetwood died aged 14 and had congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries (CCTGA) - a rare condition that only affects just one in every 200,000 people.
He went to bed healthy after school on September 6, 2019 but tragically never woke up.
Lucas had just returned from a family holiday in Majorca and had enjoyed showing his younger brother, Oliver, around his new school that day.
His parents, Daniel and Stacey Fleetwood, of Brattice Way, decided they wanted a less traditional resting place.
They contacted Barnsley Council’s bereavement services, who worked in partnership to develop a memorial garden within the crematorium grounds where families can go to remember their loved ones.
It will feature above-ground cabinets known as niches, granite furniture and benches, while the centrepiece will be a granite postbox for messages visitors can write on special paper infused with seeds.
These messages will then be buried in the ground to grow into flowers.
The family is also establishing the ‘Inspired by Lucas Foundation’ which will provide a network of support to bereaved parents and families.
Dad Daniel, 40, said: “As a family we wanted a resting place for Lucas that wasn’t just full of sadness - traditional resting places in cemeteries didn’t feel right for us, or for Lucas.
“So we wanted to create an area that didn’t just benefit us, but would be there for other families who may need it in the future, and we also wanted to help make sure there was a network which would bring together those families who need support.
“We are so grateful to everyone who donated towards this project. This is very important to us as a family, but it is about so much more than just Lucas.
“Sadly, we know we are not the first family to lose a child and we won’t be the last. It is comforting to know that when other families face something like this, they have somewhere they can go, perhaps with other young children, to remember that person they have lost.”
A suitable part of the crematorium grounds was identified and a contractor was engaged to complete the groundworks and lay paths into the garden.
The contractor, on learning of the story behind the project, agreed to provide plant and equipment free of charge, and another company agreed to provide materials free of charge.
This means that almost £11,000 raised by Lucas’s family, friends and other donors in his memory can be spent purely on lasting memorials for the garden.
Coun Chris Lamb, cabinet spokesperson, added: “I’ve been moved, and so have colleagues in bereavement services, to hear about the untimely death of Lucas and what it meant to his family.
“While I would dearly wish it was never needed, I do hope this new memorial garden will be of comfort to families who all too sadly need to find a final resting place for a child.”
For more information, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxAnUuxOKsw&feature=youtu.be
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Lucas’ memory to live on in memorial garden
Author: Josh Timlin
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