Mum involved in baby ashes scandal opens second infant loss support charity shop

·3-min read
Mum involved in baby ashes scandal opens second infant loss charity shop
Mum involved in baby ashes scandal opens second infant loss charity shop

A mum who was caught up in the baby ashes scandal has opened a second infant loss support charity shop.

Julie Morrison was horrified to discover her daughter Erin, who had been born stillborn in 2003, had her ashes abandoned in a funeral parlour cupboard for 13 years without her knowledge.

The 42-year-old, from Coatbridge, then lost her job and fell into a depression, before deciding to dedicate her life to getting others the help she was never given.

Glasgow Times: Julie has opened two baby loss charity shops
Glasgow Times: Julie has opened two baby loss charity shops

Julie has opened two baby loss charity shops

Glasgow Times: They were bombarded with donations
Glasgow Times: They were bombarded with donations

They were bombarded with donations

It came after staff at crematoriums across the country disposed of the ashes of babies and then falsely told grieving parents there were not enough remains to return to them.

After discovering the truth, Julie decided to launch her Baby Loss Retreat charity in 2018 with a shop in Bellshill before opening her latest store in Airdrie last week.

Glasgow Times: The new shop has now opened it's doors
Glasgow Times: The new shop has now opened it's doors

The new shop has now opened it's doors

Glasgow Times: The shop is stocked with tots clothes and items
Glasgow Times: The shop is stocked with tots clothes and items

The shop is stocked with tots clothes and items

Julie told the Glasgow Times: “When I found out her ashes had been sitting in a funeral director's for 13 years, I was completely shocked.

“I had been told I wouldn’t get any ashes but I saw the scandal on the news and contacted a lawyer.

“Four years later they said through an investigation they had discovered the ashes.

“I lost my job and everything. I was so stressed I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning.

“I had worked as a care assistant and found it really hard after that, so I decided to build a charity around it.”

Glasgow Times: Julie wants to help other parents
Glasgow Times: Julie wants to help other parents

Julie wants to help other parents

Glasgow Times: Lauren Gardner manager of the newly opened Baby Loss charity shop in Airdrie
Glasgow Times: Lauren Gardner manager of the newly opened Baby Loss charity shop in Airdrie

Lauren Gardner manager of the newly opened Baby Loss charity shop in Airdrie

It is thought as many as 450 families were affected by the practice across Scotland.

Julie had no idea she was one of these victims until she contacted a lawyer who discovered her child’s remains had been in the Jonathan Harvey Funeral Directors branch in Argyll Street, Glasgow.

They were discovered among 11 other sets of infant ashes dating back to 1999.

Julie is now committed to helping other parents who are going through the same heartbreaking experience she did.

The charity offers families respite, counselling, and guidance during the difficult time.

Julie said: “We always ask parents if they have received their baby’s ashes. When you are grieving you just don’t know what questions to ask so we help guide them.

“I was in a really bad way when I lost Erin, I had postnatal depression and just no help.

“I had a real lack of support when leaving the hospital, so I want to help families by giving them the help I didn’t have.

“Our charity offers a different variety of things. I do a one-on-one chat with the person to see what exactly they need.

Glasgow Times: The shop offers baby clothes and items
Glasgow Times: The shop offers baby clothes and items

The shop offers baby clothes and items

“That might be counselling or trauma therapy after losing a child, that is something we can put in place.

“They might even just need a break. We have two locations in Scotland in Castle Douglas and Fife which we can offer.

“It includes paid food and accommodation for two days so they don’t need to worry about anything.

“Having that break and time together as a family is so important while grieving.

“We want to help families clothe their kids and have been so busy we had to open the second location after being overwhelmed with donations.”

If you want to get in touch with the charity, go to babylossretreat.org.uk.

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