A COUPLE have created a special garden at the hospital unit that formed a “protective bubble” around them as they coped with the stillbirth of their daughter.

Gemma and Richard Plaskett spent time at the Benson Suite at Salisbury District Hospital after Mia Rose was stillborn at 30 weeks on June 18 last year. The suite enables mothers to receive medical treatment and emotional support in a dedicated area away from the main labour ward.

Mrs Plaskett, 34, spent a lot of time in the garden by the unit, which at the time was just a scrubland area backing on to the maternity ward. And they wanted to raise money to refurbish the garden for the benefit of other couples going through the same heartbreak. The couple’s family and friends helped fundraise towards the project and Mrs Plaskett did a skydive, which raised £850.

Work on Mia’s Garden started towards the end of last year and shrubs have been planted in the last few weeks ready for the official opening and dedication on Friday.

Mr Plaskett, a firefighter, said: “This garden is about everyone who comes through this unit. Doing this has been more helpful to us than you can imagine.”

“The facilities and staff of the Benson Suite are truly remarkable; it is so important for a family going through this experience to be able to take time to comprehend the enormity of what is occurring,” said Mrs Plaskett. “We cannot express how much difference the facilities of the suite made, combined with the dedication and compassion of the team that work on, and support the unit, making the most unbearable of times just that little bit more bearable.”

Fiona Coker, head of maternity services at the hospital, said: “It is a lovely extra dimension to the unit. For Gemma it was really important to spend time outside, and if it was important to her it will be important to others.”

The unit, which opened in April last year, was made possible thanks to a donation from Sir Christopher and Lady Benson, who attended the dedication ceremony.

Sir Christopher said: “When we came first to the opening of the building I looked out through this wilderness and said what a pity there wasn’t a garden there. They got on with it and have done it and it is marvellous to have a little place in the sun where you can be alone. It’s another tranquil place for people who want some space.”