Angel of Hope Memorial Garden

885Andrea McAleese (Coleraine)

Andrea McAleese, from County Londonderry, created the first memorial garden in Northern Ireland to support parents that are grieving the loss of a child.

Five years after the tragic death of Andrea’s three year old daughter Roma following a car accident, Andrea decided to give
something back to the community. Realising that local people struggling with bereavement needed a peaceful place to visit and remember loved ones, Andrea lobbied with the council for land to build a memorial. After fundraising £82,000, the ‘Angel of Hope Memorial Garden’ was built and opened in 2015. Andrea continually maintains the garden, and recently unveiled a new special plaque in the garden, dedicated to stillborn babies and neonatal deaths.

In a personal letter to Andrea, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“By creating the ‘Angel of Hope Memorial Garden’ in memory of your daughter Roma, you have responded to a personal tragedy with tremendous strength. The garden, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, is bringing comfort to those struggling with bereavement by providing a peaceful sanctuary to reflect and remember loved ones.”

Andrea said:

“I am incredibly honoured to have been chosen by the Prime Minister Mrs May for this award. When my daughter Roma was killed nearly nine years ago just before her fourth birthday I thought my life was over. I decided to focus my grief and heartbreak by raising money to help other bereaved parents in Roma’s memory. With the support of my local community and businesses across Northern Ireland I raised £82,000.00 and built ‘The Angel of Hope Memorial Garden’ which opened in August 2015. Here parents can remember their children regardless of age or circumstances the children are remembered on silver stars which float on the walls. At the minute we have over 100 stars remembering children from as far away as Syria. I recently opened a new memorial for the parents of stillborn and neonatal babies. It is a great comfort to myself and other parents who have had to suffer such an unbearable loss. The garden has been a great success in helping these families and bringing them together to support each other. I’m happy to know Roma’s life has helped so many people and that Roma, all the other children and babies now have an everlasting memorial. Thank you so much.”

See more about the Angel of Hope Memorial Garden

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