Stonemason’s generosity helps baby be at peace

Date Released - 12/10/2022

A stillborn baby can finally be at rest as a Tameside stonemason donated an engraved headstone after seeing the tragic situation that faced the family,  and in particular the Mother, over the years.

Lilian Thorpe, 86 and from Stalybridge, gave birth to a stillborn baby boy in 1961 but never had the chance to see or hold him before he was taken away. Hospitals would deal with all the arrangements at the time.

In May, Lilian’s story was shown on BBC North West Tonight, after Tameside Council helped Lilian by searching their records of historic stillbirths, resulting in finding her baby buried in Hyde Cemetery and showing Lilian the grave of her son. Tameside-based BA Hodcroft Memorial Masons were moved by her situation and wanted to help where they could.

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 of not knowing where he was laid to rest. 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 an emotional 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.”

The Tameside Council-backed Baby Loss Awareness Week runs from 9 – 15 October – a time to come together and remember much-loved and missed babies and raise awareness of baby and pregnancy loss.

There were 35 deaths of infants under 1 year old and 36 stillbirths in Tameside between 2018 and 2020.

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

“If there’s anyone in Tameside who is trying to find where their baby is buried, please get in touch with our team using the details below. Please bear in mind, we can only locate any stillborn children if the stillbirth took place within a Tameside hospital.”

Anyone needing support in finding their baby’s resting place in Tameside can contact the team on or call 0161 342 4461.