Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

When We Got There the Chapel Was Empty. We Were Given the Wrong Date; MUM TELLS OF HER HEARTACHE OVER BABY FUNERAL MIX-UP

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

When We Got There the Chapel Was Empty. We Were Given the Wrong Date; MUM TELLS OF HER HEARTACHE OVER BABY FUNERAL MIX-UP

Article excerpt

Byline: By LISA HUTCHINSON

IT WAS two years ago that mum Melanie Cook gave birth to her stillborn son and the grief still haunts her.

But it was arriving for his funeral with bouquets of flowers to find an empty chapel that really broke her heart.

Melanie and her husband Alan were given the wrong date for baby Tommy's cremation and as the second anniversary of his death approaches, on January 5, they say they are still waiting for a letter of apology from hospital bosses.

Today Melanie has broken her silence in the wake of the Chronicle's expose of another stillborn funeral mix-up.

"It was devastating. We were given March 1, 2007, at 9am for the cremation at the West Road Crematorium.

It was to be a joint cremation with a number of babies who were stillborn at the Royal Victoria Infirmary," said Melanie, of Lemington, Newcastle.

"We went to the crematorium with flowers for Tommy but when we got there the chapel was empty.

No-one was around. We knocked on door and found a worker who said we had been given the wrong date.

"He said it was the first Wednesday in the month that these type of joint cremations take place, but we had been told March 1, which was a Thursday.

"You build yourself up for the funeral to say goodbye but then we had to return to the crematorium the next week and go through the emotional side again.

"I was furious and angry and wanted a letter of apology but that still hasn't arrived two years later."

Melanie has told her story after reading in the Chronicle about a blunder that meant Josephine Mudzingwa, 39, of North Shields, went to the funeral of a stranger's baby on October 1 this year thinking it was that of her own.

And Josephine's premature baby, who she called Meryline, is still in the hospital mortuary and what happened to cause the mistake remains a mystery. …

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