Community rallies for funeral of unidentified woman found near Birling Gap

The community has rallied to make sure an unidentified woman's funeral has people there to say goodbye.

Tuesday, 18th September 2018, 11:36 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th September 2018, 2:52 am
A forensic artist's impression of how she looked

It was feared no one would turn up at Hailsham Cemetery on Tuesday (September 25) as no family or loved ones have come forward to identify the woman, who was found on a beach near Birling Gap.

But, according to funeral organiser Christina Martin, a number of people have said they will attend, and flowers and even a grave marker have been donated.

Christina said, “This case has been sad but also uplifting for the kindness it has elicited. Sometimes these funerals are extra special because nobody is there out of duty, they want to be.”

A group has also been set up on Facebook for the event, with 12 people said to be going. It is called: ‘The funeral of a beautiful unknown lady’.

While funeral flowers have been donated by Interflora, Petalon, Waitrose, and Great British Florist, and a free grave marker provided by Treasured Memories.

A more permanent stone has been offered for free by JF Stoneworks, Christina said, “Plus the fees to lay it waived by the cemetery. Wow.”

A distinctive necklace she was found wearing

But the search is still on to find the woman’s family.

Described as middle aged with shoulder-length reddish brown hair, she was found at a cove by the fourth Seven Sister in July 2017.

Since, authorities have been unable to identify her despite checking her finger prints, DNA and dental records – and no family has come forward.

The jewellery she was wearing when found

A forensic artist produced an image of how she looked when she was alive, in the hope someone will recognise her.

And images have been released of a distinctive necklace she was found wearing.

An inquest in June heard the woman had no visible tattoos and she had been wearing red nail varnish on her toes.

If you recognise her, contact Sussex Police online or on 101 or the Missing Persons Bureau.

• All are welcome to attend the funeral next week (September 25).

• It takes place in Hailsham Cemetery from 1pm.

• And anyone else who wishes to send flowers can forward them to Haine and Son, of Polegate.