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Compassionate Friends Garden

Britain in Bloom 2018

For the past two years Beautiful Perth volunteers, with support from Perth & Kinross Council, have been working in partnership with Compassionate Friends, a charitable organisation of bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents, to create a contemplative garden within Riverside Park. Last year we planted a rowan tree together and the Compassionate Friends group installed a small marker stone at its foot.

This year, the group again held its annual gathering in Perth and 40 of its members joined us in the garden for the unveiling of a new bench and a beautiful carved commemorative stone at the entrance to the garden. The stone was generously donated by one of our most valued sponsors, Kilmac Ltd, and was unveiled by its Director Athole McDonald along with Hugh McAninch of Compassionate Friends. Hugh also cut a ribbon to inaugurate the new bench, and members of the group tied ribbons on the rowan tree in memory of their children. Our volunteers will continue to maintain the garden and we hope members of the Compassionate Friends group will visit in years to come to enjoy quiet contemplation, either as part of a group visit or as individuals.

To round off a simple but deeply emotional visit to this quiet part of the park, Marion Cameron read a lovely poem 'Ribbons', written by Betty Madill:  


As we bring these ribbons as symbols of our love

we remember precious times we shared with you

and wish we did not have this task to do

and that you were still here with us today.


We cannot change what took you from our arms

but nothing can alter the love we still have for you.

So we gather around our tree with these friends

who also share a longing for their child, and place

upon its branches these tokens of our love.


In future years, when we pass this way, and

sit upon our bench to cherish some memories

as we think of the times spent with you, and

Perhaps, on that day the love will outweigh the pain.

Copyright 2018 Betty Madill


 Ribbons Commorative stone Unveiling

Pictured above: Tying ribbons on the Rowan tree; The commemorative stone; Unveiling the stone by Athole McDonald (left) and Hugh McAninch.

Main picture: Hugh McAninch of Compassionate Friends cuts the ribbon to inaugurate the new bench, watched by Beautiful Perth Chairman John Summers.

Some further information:

The rowan tree (Mountain Ash) is a native Scottish species. The one we planted in the Compassionate Friends garden was sourced from the Glendoick Garden Centre which is situated just off the A90, about half way between Perth and Dundee.

The stone is an orange/pink felsite (a fine-grained igneous rock, chiefly feldspar and quartz), which was sourced by Athole McDonald of Kilmac Ltd from the Balmullo Quarry, near St Andrews in Fife. Beautiful Perth and the Compassionate Friends group are very grateful to Athole for his generosity in donating the stone and the carving, which includes the Compassionate Friends’ logo and a butterfly, representing the spirits of lost children.  The wording reads:

The Compassionate Friends Garden, supported by Beautiful Perth.

Our children remembered. In our hearts they live on – always there, never gone.

The Compassionate Friends is a charitable organisation of bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents.


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