A SPECIAL tree of remembrance for families who have lost little ones should be in place in Gourock Park by the end of October.

The Tree of Tranquility had been put on hold due to the Covid-19 outbreak but contractors say they will be able to start work on the memorial soon.

The life-size sculpture is made from copper and each leaf will bear the name of a baby who has died.

It will be a special moment for local mum Karyn Jenkins, who lost her beloved tot Sophie Louise during the 22nd week of her pregnancy in 2012.

She has been campaigning for a tree to be erected in her home town for years.

Karyn, 34, said: "I am so relieved that it's finally going ahead.

"Everything had stopped and I was worried that it probably wouldn't happen until next year.

"I had been speaking to Sara Fitzsimmons at the SiMBA charity for years about getting a tree in Gourock and fighting for it as much as I could."

Karyn says she felt fortunate in a way because her sister and best friend had also experienced a loss and she could talk to them, but says that many other people feel very much on their own and don't have anyone to confide in.

Karyn said: "When my sister lost her baby I hadn't known that to happen to anyone before.

"Since then unfortunately I know so many people.

"No-one speaks out about it."

Karyn says it gives her comfort to talk about Sophie and keep her in her life.

She was delighted when she found out she was pregnant with her son Bradley, who is six, and she and her husband Andrew also welcomed another daughter Sophia, who is now three.

The tree project has been supported by Inverclyde Council, who donated £10,000, and SiMBA and the work will cost more than £16,000.

Karyn started fundraising last January by opening a pop up shop and holding a ladies fundraising day.

Her son Bradley also raised £480 by cycling 15 miles.

Karyn said: "It was on Bradley's birthday that Sara Fitzsimmons from SiMBA rang me to say that we were allowed to have the tree and I was so happy that I was crying with joy.

"It was such a nice time to be told."

Baby Loss Awareness Week begins on Monday and as more people open up about what was once a hidden subject, Karyn says lots of people have approached her to chat.

She said: "A lot of older people came in when I had the pop-up shop.

"They told me they didn't even get to see their baby or even know what sex it was.

"They can visit the tree and no-one else needs to know, and if they want to talk about it there will be people there who have experienced the same loss.

"It is something that goes deep down in some people.

"I am very open myself but people deal with it in different ways."

Gourock councillor Lynne Quinn says she is delighted that Karyn's ambition to get a tree here in Inverclyde is now in its final stages and feels the perfect place has been found for it.

She said: "I can't think of a better setting than here in the walled gardens.

"It will be a tranquil place for anyone who has suffered the loss of baby to come and remember them."

Anyone who would like to request a leaf should do so as soon as possible and have them posted back to SiMBA before October 23.

This will allow leaves to be installed at the same time as the tree.

Visit www.simbacharity.org.uk/what-we-do/trees-of-tranquillity/ for more information.