Manchester: stonemason gifts memorial after seeing 86-year-old’s poignant story

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A stonemason has gifted a special memorial to a mother from Greater Manchester after her poignant story was broadcast on TV.

Lilian Thorpe, 86, gave birth to a stillborn baby boy in 1961 but never had the chance to see him before he was taken away. Hospitals dealt with all death and burials at that time.

Lilian’s story was shown on BBC North West Tonight in 2022 after her local council, Tameside, helped Lilian by searching their records of historic stillbirths. That search led to them finding her baby buried in Hyde Cemetery and showing Lilian the grave of her son.

Following the story, Tameside-based BA Hodcroft Memorial Masons offered their help and donated an engraved headstone.
Matt Shenton, Monumental Mason at BA Hodcroft Memorials, said: “Like everyone else who saw Lilian’s story on the BBC, we were extremely moved to see Lilian find her baby’s resting place after 61 years.

“As a local company, BA Hodcroft Memorial Masons have supplied and fixed memorials for Tameside residents for many years and we felt we wanted to try and help in a small way.

“We offered to provide and donate a memorial for her, which hopefully helps Lilian and the family with some closure and peace.”

After taking a look at the headstone, Lilian said: “I’m so grateful to the stonemasons for this wonderful gesture. For a long time it felt like I had two boys but now I know where he is resting I know I have three.

“It’s such a relief to have somewhere to visit where we can share some quiet moments together.”

Cllr Denise Ward, Tameside Council Executive Member for Climate Emergency and Environmental Services, said: “It’s inspiring to see such a touching act of kindness from a local business helping provide Lilian with some closure.”

Picture credit: Tameside Council