Elephant Man's mother gets headstone in Leicester

Photo of Joseph Merrick and his skull Joseph Merrick suffered from a rare bone disorder which left him disfigured

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A new memorial headstone has been unveiled on the Leicester grave of the mother of Joseph Merrick, who became known as the Elephant Man.

The family of Mary Jane Merrick were unable to afford a headstone when she died in 1873.

A group dedicated to keeping her son's memory alive organised the event at Welford Road Cemetery.

Joseph Merrick died in 1890 at the age of 27. His name has also been inscribed on the gravestone.

Merrick, who suffered from a rare bone disorder, spent four years at a Leicester workhouse before he persuaded a showman to exhibit him.

He was dubbed the Elephant Man before being rescued by London surgeon Frederick Treves.

Merrick's bones are stored at the Royal London Hospital, in Whitechapel - Queen Mary University of London's medical school.

Jeanette Sitton, founder of the Friends of Joseph Merrick, said: "This gravestone will finally allow floral tributes to be laid in a cemetery, in his name, on his mother's grave."

The group says it is committed to educating people across the world about Merrick's life and legacy of courage, to increase tolerance of people with disabilities.

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