Hull baby ashes campaigner in public inquiry call

Tina Trowhill (L) David Gauke and Diana Johnson Image copyright Diana Johnson
Image caption Tina Trowhill (left) and MP Diana Johnson met Justice Secretary David Gauke in London

A mother whose stillborn baby's ashes were scattered without her knowledge has met the justice secretary to ask for an independent local inquiry.

Tina Trowhill from Hull hopes that David Gauke will support a campaign by bereaved parents.

Up to 57 families in Hull were not given their child's remains, an internal investigation by the city council found.

Hull City Council said an inquiry would not provide any additional information.

Ms Trowhill, from Hull Action for Ashes, said she thought the meeting with Mr Gauke "went really well".

"The one thing that is for certain is that the parents in Hull will not give up," she said. "We will keep pursuing an independent inquiry. It's what parents need and it's the only way for parents to move on."

The campaign is being supported by Hull North Labour MP Diana Johnson, who said other councils had held public inquiries into the issue.

Image copyright Tina Trowhill
Image caption Tina Trowhill was told there were no ashes produced after her stillborn son William was cremated

How the campaign began

The campaign group was started in 2014 after it emerged that parents had been incorrectly told that the cremation of their children had left no ashes.

However, a Hull City Council report published in July 2017 said: "In almost all of these cases a record has now been obtained and it has been established that, unlike in other investigations nationally, ashes were always produced."

The council's investigation

The council report covered a period between between November 2014 and January 2017.

It found there was "a number of historical inconsistencies regarding the checking of instructions and record-keeping, in the past".

The council said it had subsequently "put a number of measures in place" to prevent further cases including a training programme for staff, clear forms and instructions.

Calls for local public inquiry

Ms Trowhill has lobbied for a local public inquiry, similar to the one carried out in Shropshire.

After the city council's internal investigation was published, Ms Trowhill said: "There are so many questions that Hull have not answered in the review."

Action for Ashes Hull has lobbied politicians over the years, including meeting then Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in April last year.

Ms Trowhill's calls for an independent inquiry were supported by a group of MPs who wrote to the authority last year saying that "the measures taken in Hull fall far short of what bereaved parents need".

In a statement, the city council said it did "not think a local public inquiry in Hull will provide any additional information than our existing investigations".

The authority added: "We would fully support and have called for government to commission a national inquiry, reflecting that this is an issue across the country, requiring formal changes in national processes and procedures, which only a government inquiry can achieve."

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