Hitchin couple in row with church over search for baby’s grave
- Credit: Archant
A couple trying to locate the grave of a baby girl who died more than 50 years ago have said the church in question will not release information which would reveal where she was buried.
Richard Frank and his wife Tammi, of Woolgrove Road in Hitchin, have been trying to find the grave of Mrs Frank’s baby sister, Jane, who died in June 1963 and was buried at Royston Cemetery on Melbourn Road, which is owned by St John the Baptist Church in Royston.
Baby Jane was just 30 days old when she died. A coroner’s inquest ruled death was from asphyxiation due to misadventure.
Mr and Mrs Frank have obtained records of Jane’s death from Hertfordshire Records and Archives which show the baby was buried in the churchyard but it does not reveal the grave’s precise location.
However plans of the graveyard, which would identify where she has been buried, have not been given to the couple by the church, despite the records being a public document.
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Mr Frank said: “It is almost like it is a cover up. I feel deeply about this. It’s like it’s a secret organisation. They claim they don’t want you to know anything but it’s a public record. We would just like to pay our respects to baby Jane. Her father would like to know, her sister would like to know and all it is is a little bit of respect to the dead. They are doing everything they can to be obtrusive. They say they are not but they are.
“The more I delve into this the more I feel the church is a law onto themselves.”
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Mr Frank said the baby’s family did not attend the funeral due to family circumstances and therefore have no idea where in the graveyard she has been buried.
Mr Frank said his wife was “really angry” with the whole situation.
“She never got to say goodbye and she would like to,” he added.
The church’s vicar Revd Heidi Huntley who referred the Comet to The Church of England Diocese of St Albans, whose authority it falls under.
A spokesman for the diocese said: “The Revd Heidi and her colleagues all understand how distressing dealing with any matter relating to a burial can be for relatives and they have all been at pains to offer as much help as possible.
“The Revd Heidi is meeting Mr Frank in the in the next few days to see what progress can be made with his enquiry.
“The church is doing all it can to care and help.”