Mother’s pain over stillborn son’s ashes

Judith Blissett at the memorial stone of her son Craig who was stillborn, but had his ashes scattered without her notice.

Judith Blissett at the memorial stone of her son Craig who was stillborn, but had his ashes scattered without her notice.

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A woman from Boston who lost her son in a stillbirth 23 years ago has suffered fresh heartache after learning the baby’s ashes were scattered without her knowledge.

Judith Blissett, 52, of Fishtoft Road, lost Craig just hours before his birth in May 1992.

Her wish was to have his ashes placed beneath a memorial stone in Boston Crematorium. However, she says she was told by staff there would be no remains due to Craig dying at such a young age.

“I thought it was a bit strange at the time, but I trusted them,” she told The Standard this week.

Now, more than two decades later, she has discovered there were in fact remains and these were scattered in the grounds of the crematorium, away from the plot bought in memory of Craig.

“When I was told, it was just like going back to day one,” she said. “It was like being kicked in the stomach.”

Judith decided to approach the crematorium following reports in Hull earlier this year of stillbirth babies’ ashes being scattered without the knowledge of parents during the 1990s and 2000s.

She said even if it hurt, she had to know the truth. She says she was not prepared, however, for how hard the truth would hit.

“I feel I have been robbed of a lifetime of having Craig where I wanted him,” she said. “For them to just scatter him wherever they chose, I think it’s totally out of order.”

It is unclear how Craig’s ashes came to be scattered without Judith’s knowledge.

She says crematorium staff have told her that the funeral directors would have completed a form on her behalf indicating that she did not want the ashes. However, this form cannot be found, Judith says, and it is a form she does not remember seeing.

“It can’t completely be the undertakers’ fault because it was at the crematorium I was told there would be no remains,” she added.

The undertakers, A. F. Herring, has since been taken over by Lincolnshire Co-operative.

Spokesman for the Co-opEmma Snedden said: “We sympathise with Judith’s situation and when she approached us recently our team in Boston did their best to help. Unfortunately, as the event had occurred 10 years before we bought the business of A. F. Herring, we were unable to provide any information.”

Boston Borough Council, which runs the crematorium, said it could not offer an explanation for the events due to the length of time that has passed.

A spokesman said: “Boston Borough Council leader Coun Peter Bedford, chief executive Phil Drury and Martin Potts, the bereavement services manager, met with the family on Monday and apologised unreservedly for any distress.

“The council will support the family however it can and has offered any assistance which would be of help.”

Judith supports calls for a national inquiry into why babies’ ashes have been scattered without parents’ knowledge.

She would also like to hear from any families who feel they may be in the same position. Email her on judith.eric@hotmail.co.uk