By Dave Andrusko
Writing for the Daily Mail, Stephanie Linning wrote an achingly poignant story of hundreds of strangers who took time to mourn an unnamed baby laid to rest in Seafield Cemetery in Edinburgh, England.
The baby boy, wrapped in a blanket and found on a railroad track, was laid to rest in a tiny white coffin. The cemetery is only yards away from where his tiny body (he was about six months old) was discovered by a man walking his dog in July 2013. Tests revealed he may have abandoned as much as a month before.
But the local community would not allow his burial to go unnoticed. Nor would they permit his body not to be prayed over.
How could this outpouring come about for a little one known to no one who was found almost two years ago?
“Police Scotland published a death notice in the Scotsman newspaper, inviting people to attend the funeral for the ‘unknown little baby boy,” Linning wrote. They’d feared no one would attend because, in spite of an intensive investigation, police have been unable to identify the baby’s family.
The notice read
‘With deep sadness, the little baby boy who was found wrapped in his blanket on the walkway/cycle path at Restalrig, Seafield, Edinburgh, will be laid to rest at Seafield Cemetery on Friday, May 1, 2015 at 10am, to which all will be warmly invited to come along and pay their final respects to this little baby boy.’
The message quickly went viral, and community leaders encouraged people to attend.
Reverend Erica Wishart, who led the service, thanked mourners for attending. She said all felt “A deep sadness that this tiny baby is never going to have a chance to grow up and live a life,” Linning reported. “We are here to say goodbye to this wee one, with the dignity and respect he deserved. We are here to mourn the life that could have been.”
Rev. Wishart praised the community for the turnout. “It’s just something like this touches everyone’s hearts,” she said. “This is a great community. Leith is a great community. It’s just been fantastic, a wave of compassion.”
The congregation of strangers “bowed their heads in respect as the tiny white coffin was carried through the cemetery, accompanied by the moving sound of a single piper playing Amazing Grace,” Linning wrote. The plaque on the coffin read, “Known to God, precious little angel.”
Margaret Halliday works with the support group Angel Wings, “which makes burial clothes for babies,” Linning reported.
She made a burial “pocket of love” for the boy fashioned from a wedding dress and attached a tiny brooch in the shape of wings to help the baby fly to heaven.
She said: “I think the turnout is absolutely incredible. It’s very moving to think that there are so many people here today just to give this baby some love.”
Many mourners came with their own children. As one said, “He will not be forgotten about by the Leith community, the Lochend community.”
“I’m sure he’ll always be remembered, especially by me as I have got family here, and I’m sure he will be looked after,” Carol Lind added.