Family’s anguish at grave raid

A 28-YEAR-OLD Selkirk mum this week begged callous thieves never to put another family through the pain hers suffered on Sunday.

For when the working mother, who wants to remain anonymous for the sake of her children, visited the grave of three of her babies at Wairds Cemetery near Melrose, she found vandals had stolen lamps her family had laid out for them.

She and her 24-year-old partner of seven years set six solar lights for their stillborn children so they would never be left alone in the dark. They have kept a light burning at the graveside for the last two years and had just replaced four of the lights the previous week.

And she branded the actions of the vandals as “disgusting”.

The mum said: “At first we were very angry, but as the day went on we got more upset that someone had been near the grave and possibly not just ours.”

The young couple have a healthy bouncing eight-month-old daughter now, but they have come through much heartache which thieves heartlessly raked over last week.

The loving parents lost their first child, a boy, on New Year’s Day 2010 and 10 months later their twins were born too early.

The professional mum said: “2010 was a very bad year.”

The couple and their family first put a lantern at the graveside in the month after their son died.

“We want to have lights there because we don’t want our babies to be in the dark and I think a lot of parents in the cemetery do that,” said their mother.

She described the situation last Sunday: “The first thing I noticed was the new gnomes looked really nice. My partner said ‘yes but there are no lights’.

“Two of the lights had been really nastily dragged out, the earth was scattered about, and others had been yanked out because they had left the posts in the ground.”

She continued: “What makes it more confusing is that it’s quite obvious the section is for people who have lost babies. The graves are tiny and it’s obvious parents have put things there that are really important to them. It’s disgusting that someone would do that.

“There are new babies there every week and one of the mums I have met there is not coping – what if it had happened to her? We are two years down the line and it still hurts. It is just not nice.

“We just want to make sure this doesn’t happen again and that’s when I phoned the police.”

The mum was speaking to us yesterday, surrounded by her family.

She said: “They were probably more upset for my partner and I.”

Her mum, the babies’ grandmother, had urged her daughter to report the crime. “It’s a total invasion of their privacy and their personal space. Who would do that?” she said.

The babies’ brave mum and her partner have fought hard to overcome the family tragedy two years ago. They sought support from Simba, a charity set up in 2005 by a midwife and others to raise money to create ‘memory boxes’ to help families and honour babies who have died, been stillborn or miscarried. “My partner and I have got so much from it, “ she said.

And the pair had loved the cemetery when they first looked for a resting place for their son.

“It’s so peaceful. When we went to visit there to see if that’s where we wanted our wee boy to be buried, we loved it. Sunday was the first time I thought I don’t want them there.”

“It’s not the monetary value of the lights, it’s not getting them back, it’s to make sure that it doesn’t happen again to us or anyone else. Hopefully other parents won’t have to feel like we did on Sunday.”

A police spokesperson said: “This is a sickening and despicable incident which has caused significant stress to the babies’ parents and family. We are particularly keen to trace whoever is responsible for this theft and appeal to anyone with any information to contact police.”

The thieves struck sometime between Sunday, June 3, and last Sunday.

Contact police on 0131 311 3131 or through the charity Crimestoppers anonymously in confidence on 0800 555 111.