Gifts of Remembrance is a non-profit social enterprise set up by Rachel Hayden, bereaved parent and volunteer photographer, which provides training for hospital staff and volunteers who support parents whose baby is stillborn or dies shortly after birth.

Rachel Hayden – Gifts of Remembrance trainer and founder

Rachel was living in Leicester with her husband and two young children when she became pregnant with triplets in 2008 (much to her and everyone else’s surprise – it was a natural conception with no history of multiples in her family). She became involved in bereavement photography following the stillbirth of her triplet son Rowan and helped develop ‘The Moments to Remember’ Bereavement photography programme in University Hospitals trust in Leicester (UHL). She received training from Todd Hochberg, award winning bereavement photographer in Chicago and arranged for him to come to the UK and run a workshop in Leicester in September 2010. She completed SANDS ‘Befriender’ training that same year and began offering her services as a volunteer photographer at the Leicester hospitals in 2011. She has photographed families in a variety of circumstances from those having late terminations due to abnormality, babies of 21 weeks+ gestation, and spent time photographing a family with their very poorly baby with limited life expectancy.

Following the success of the Leicester programme and her desire that all bereaved parents should have the offer of sensitive and meaningful photographs, she set up ‘Gifts of Remembrance’ providing training workshops to midwifery and neonatal services in the UK and Ireland. She has been offering training through Gifts of Remembrance since 2011 in hospitals, conference centres and hotels and every participant in her workshops has said in their evaluation, that they would recommend the course to a colleague.

Prior to having a family, Rachel worked in the NHS as an Occupational Therapist and Mental Health Practitioner and was involved in service development . She has worked as a manager, supervisor, clinician and professional advisor and has experience in running groups, workshops, giving lectures, presenting at conferences, writing for publication and carrying out research. She was studying for a PhD when the triplets came along and hopes that she can resume this level of study again in the future.

Rachel aims to bring her previous work skills and experience along with her personal experience as a bereaved mother together, to offer workshops that make sense, that are practical and that will really make a difference.