June 22, 2024 11:47 PM

Laid with love



It’s been more than 30 years since Janelle King bid her final farewell to her beloved son, Jacob, but not a day goes by that she doesn’t think of him or mention his name.

When Janelle heard of Singleton Cancer Appeal’s memorial garden project at Singleton Hospital, she didn’t hesitate to buy a paver in memory of a little boy who, despite never taking a breath at birth, is a hero in his family’s eyes.

Janelle was 14 weeks pregnant when she was told one of her twin sons had died.  Despite this, little Jacob continued to grow and weighed 5lb at birth with his brother Josh, at 2lb, doing all he could to stay with his brother.

Janelle, and her entire family, regularly visit Jacob’s gravesite at Sedgefield Cemetery and the memorial garden delivers an entirely new space for them to remember a little life loved so much.

The memorial garden contains more than 200 names and every one was laid with love and more than a few tears.  It is surrounded by a rose garden, a pergola made from wood from an old railway bridge in Armidale planted with a climbing deep blue wisteria, a water fountain depicting the tree of life and an iron sculpture of a family and surrounded by hundreds of new plants, shrubs and trees.

Appeal president Kay Sullivan said when the committee first talked about the memorial garden  project it was only going to be small.  The committee recognised the need for the hospital to have a quiet place for reflection, especially for those supporting patients in palliative care.  When the removal of the old nursing home and the upgrade to the hospital entry was announced, Kay approached Singleton Hospital to request a small part of that land to build a garden.

The Appeal set aside $70,000 hoping to provide a small area for reflection but when that area of land became much bigger than the committee anticipated, the project started to snowball.

“Every cent of this project has been purposely raised or donated for the project and I thank the people of Singleton for their generosity which has created this beautiful space,” Kay said.

It certainly has been a garden built with love.  Both Lions Club of Singleton and Rotary Club of Singleton on Hunter members and others spent two days in 42 degree heat in December last year to do the abundance of planting.

All up, it has been a $285,000 project and the end result has not gone unnoticed.

It even won praise from State Shadow Minister for Health,  Ryan Park, during a visit to Singleton last year.

“He visits two or three hospitals in New South Wales a week at least and he told me he had never seen a more beautiful entrance.

“It is a credit to the people who have so generously supported this project.”