world : 'I promised the unknown baby would not be forgotten'

world : 'I promised the unknown baby would not be forgotten'
world : 'I promised the unknown baby would not be forgotten'

Friday 14 June 2024 10:30 PM

Nafeza 2 world - News of an arrest by detectives investigating the death of a baby girl 40 years ago, has brought back memories of a campaign to ensure she was not forgotten.

The baby's body was found in 1982 in a carrier bag near Northampton railway station; she was not identified, and no one was prosecuted. New evidence surfaced in 2023 following a cold case review.

Canon George Burgon and his wife Margaret arranged a funeral at St Mary's Church in Far Cotton and later organised a headstone for the unknown child.

"We stood around that little grave, and, as she was lowered in, I said, out loud, 'I promise you will not be forgotten'," recalled Mrs Burgon.

In 1982, Canon Burgon was in his seventh year as vicar at St Mary's when the police contacted him after the body of the baby was found and asked him to give the child a proper burial.

Mrs Burgon remembered: "It was half-past-nine on a very cold November morning and I said to George, 'I'm going to come with you; someone has got to represent love and motherhood."

At the graveside with them were three police officers, a gravedigger, an undertaker and two journalists.

Mrs Burgon said: "I was determined that she would have a proper headstone because I go four or five times a year to visit her, and I didn't want, when I could no longer go, that there'd be nothing."

"Mills Stonemasons at Rothwell kindly donated a headstone and that was put in place in November 2019.

"We had a little remembrance ceremony."

The words on the headstone were those used by Canon Burgon during the funeral 17 years before: "In loving memory of an unknown baby girl.

"A fallen sparrow known only to God and loved by God."

Mrs Burgon said she was disappointed to find that the baby had been laid to rest not in the children's section, but in a remote corner of the cemetery.

"She was in a corner all on her own, because she was buried as a pauper, which is so sad because the people of Northampton would have paid for a grave."

For more than 40 years, Mrs Burgon has also been thinking of the child's mother.

She said: "I would be happy to meet her, and the first thing I would do, would be give her a big hug."

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