IT WAS a case of black tie and tissues when Swindon SANDS (Stillbirth and NeoNatal Death Society) held its third annual awareness and fundraising ball last month.

The ball on October 13 had the theme ‘Colours of Autumn and sold out all of its tickets within 24 hours.

It aimed to raise awareness of the services and support the group offers and raise funds for the coming year. Arrival photos were taken by Your Digital Memories, who provided their services free of charge and contributed 15 per cent of their sales to the evening’s total.

Welcome drinks were on hand, arranged as the SANDS logo by Scott from Alexandra House.

Guests were shown a video that recounted the experiences of members, which left even the hardest person with more than just a trace of a tear.

The evening the launched into an auction which contained 10 star items and these alone raised £2,200 on the night.

Kenny Davey, of Capture CCTV Solutions, bid £300 for the weekend hire of a Jaguar XF, supplied by Grange Jaguar, and announced that SANDS could keep the money but could also auction the item again.

The winner on the second running of the item was Dave Barton of Northcott Construction, who bid £250.

The item which received the highest single bid was a stylised canvas of the statue which stands in the SANDS memorial garden, photographed and designed by SANDS committee member Keith Davidson. 

It sold for £500 to HMC Motor Company, who immediately gave the canvas back and asked for it to be displayed in the proposed bereavement suite at the Great Western Hospital.

The total raised was £5,902 and the organisers thanked everyone who helped ensure it was a success.

The funds will go toward the cost of providing memory boxes and support to individuals who have lost a child.

Swindon Sands offers support to bereaved parents in Swindon and surrounding areas.

It was founded in 2008 and is run by local parents who have lost a baby too.


Sands is a national charity, established by bereaved parents in 1981, with three core aims: to support anyone affected by the death of a baby, work to improve the quality of care and services offered to bereaved families and to promote research that could help to reduce the loss of babies' lives.


Following the completion of the SANDS memorial garden at Kingsdown Crematorium, Swindon SANDS is looking to convert two rooms at GWH into a bereavement suite. The project is estimated to cost in the region of £20,000.

List of supporting organisations

The Prop Store London, OSPREY, Caterham-Renault, Grange Jaguar Swindon, James Corden, Nestle, Helen Mirren, Jenson Button, Maslins, Sony, Swizzles Matlow LTD, Oeno, Cotswold Water Park Four Pillars Hotel, Dyson Ltd, Beechfield House Luxury House Hotel, REGATTA, TRIUMPH INTERNATIONAL, New Look, WH Smiths LTD, CHRISTY UK LTD, Smarts Fish & Chips, Highworth, The Cats Whiskers Antiques, Marlborough, Laser Quest, The Health Hydro, Brooks of Highworth, Andrews Quality Meats, Highworth, WH Smiths LTD, Beechfield House, Alexandra House, Wroughton, Mothercare, Paultons Park, Aesthetic & Cosmetic Clinic, Wookey Hole Ltd, DENBY RETAIL LTD, Wyvern TheatreArts Centre, Fit4Less, LIDL, Ferris Photographics, TM LEWIN, Tamarind Indian Restaurant, Highworth, Clarks Shoes, Whitehall Garden Centre, Butterfly World, Swindon Fire Station, Swindon Wildcats Ice Hockey Club, Rafu's Highworth, County Dry Cleaners, Highworth, Two's Company, Highworth, Le Petit Beauty Rooms, Highworth Recreation Centre, Chippenham Golf Club, Morrisons, Jolly Rogers, Broome Manor Golf Complex, Jesters Adventure Play Ltd, Sainsburys Supermarket Ltd, Tesco, Anhitley Golf Course, Bonkers, Magicland, drews Quality Meats, Highworth, Indulgence, Marlborough, Museum of the Great Western Railway, Rafu's Shrivenham, Hanleys Estate Agents.