Shropshire

Shrewsbury baby ashes parents call for law change

Olivia Perkins Image copyright Glen Perkins
Image caption Glen Perkins's daughter Olivia was among the babies whose ashes were not returned after cremation

The parents of dead babies and toddlers whose ashes were not returned have called for changes in the law for cremations.

An investigation by BBC Radio Shropshire found just one in 30 sets of baby ashes were returned to families by Shrewsbury crematorium since 2004.

An independent inquiry is being set up by Shropshire Council.

Glen Perkins is thought to be one of dozens of parents to be told there would be no remains.

He said he had since learnt there would have been ashes, following the cremation of his four-month-old daughter Olivia in 2007.

Mr Perkins, part of the recently formed Action For Ashes campaign group, said he believed this was not a local, but a national issue.

'Keep fighting'

"We truly believe there are other cases in England and Wales," he said. "We're not going to go away until things have changed. We're going to keep fighting for what is right."

The situation in Shrewsbury follows a similar case in Scotland, surrounding the Mortonhall Crematorium in Edinburgh.

A nationwide investigation is currently taking place in Scotland after a report into Mortonhall said parents had been left with a "lifetime of uncertainty" about their child's final resting place.

Members of a parents' group in Edinburgh are supporting the Shrewsbury group. One of them, Willie Reid, said his advice for the Action For Ashes group was to "go for a public inquiry, because it just seems to be a nationwide thing that's gone on for years and years".

Shropshire Council said the terms of its independent inquiry, believed to be the first of its kind in England, were being agreed and it expected to announce more information within the next fortnight.

The local authority took over Shrewsbury's Emstrey crematorium from the borough Council in 2009.

Image copyright Google Maps
Image caption Emstrey Crematorium was owned by Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council until 2009, when the unitary authority was created

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