Published on: 11 May 2022

South Tyneside families will gather at a memorial service for children this weekend in the first event of its kind to be held in the borough since COVID restrictions ended. 

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust will lead the event at St Gregory’s RC Church in South Shields on Saturday, May 14, at 3pm. 

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St Gregory's RC Church in South Shields will host the service.

While other services were held during the pandemic, they were under stringent restrictions brought in by the Government to help reduce the spread of COVID. 

The annual gathering has previously been held at South Shields Crematorium, but with improvement works due to start there the day before, the church has offered to provide its building as a venue. 

The service will be led by Reverend Pat Bealing and Jennifer Lake, who are members of the chaplaincy team at South Tyneside District Hospital. 

It is open to people who have lost a child at any age in the past, with families to be invited to give their child’s name as they enter if they wish it to be read out, with a candle to also be lit for each child. 

The service will last around 45 minutes and will feature a performance by The Beacon Band, which is based at the church, off Borough Road, close to the Nook.  

The gathering this month comes in addition to another held around Christmas time, where a memorial book records the names of babies who have died prematurely or suddenly and messages are attached to a tree then put on display in the hospital chapel. 

The Trust continues to ask people to wear a facemask while visiting its hospitals and is encouraging people to have their COVID vaccinations.