A mother has found the resting place of her baby daughter – 41 years after she was stillborn.
Catharine Robinson, from Ditchling, had a healthy pregnancy, but her baby, known only as ‘Baby Robinson’ was overdue and died before childbirth in Cuckfield Hospital.
The baby was taken away before Catharine held or saw her, and she was not told where her daughter was buried.
But after 41 years she decided to try to find her child again and with help from funeral directors P&S Gallagher and West Sussex Archives, she discovered her daughter was buried at Holy Trinity Church in Cuckfield.
She had tried to locate her baby many times over the years but she was told there were no records of her.
Catharine continued: “It was different in those days. She was taken away and I did not hold or see her and we were never told what had happened to her, although I seem to remember that my husband was told that they had buried her in a man’s coffin. As you can imagine it was a very sad time but things were different 41 years ago,” she said.
Catharine was inspired to search for Baby Robinson at a Safari Supper at St Margaret’s Church, Ditchling.
A friend told of her sister, who also had a stillborn baby in 1974 at Cuckfield Hospital.
Years later a researcher at Westmeston Churchyard discovered the baby, who was born less than a year after Catharine’s and in the same hospital, was buried at Holy Trinity.
“I could not believe what I was hearing and the emotional affect it was having on me,” Catharine said.
It took just two hours for West Sussex Archives to find her baby daughter.
Matthew Gallagher, at P&S Gallagher, explained the baby was buried on November 16, 1973, and he could meet her ‘in a few weeks’ at the graveyard to show her the exact grave.
“What an emotional few hours. I could not wait for a few weeks.
“I might have waited 41 years but I could not wait any longer and went to the cemetery,” Catharine said.
“I could not find her but just the knowledge that she is there has been a huge comfort. It was very moving.”
She is determined to ensure others in her position have a chance to be reunited.
“I would just love it if other people could do the same. People need to know they can do something about it,” she said.
Father David, of St Margaret’s, plans to give the baby a blessing, and the stone will be engraved with ‘Baby Robinson’.