Shropshire Star

Shropshire campaigners take baby ashes petition to Downing Street

The man leading Shrewsbury's baby ashes campaign says they are close to securing changes in the law after meeting with Government.


Glen Perkins, of Shrewsbury, founder of the campaign group Action for Ashes, was joined by other Shropshire parents for a Westminster meeting with Justice Minister Caroline Dinenage.

Following the meeting Mr Perkins said he had been impressed with the minister's response – and her pledge to do all she can to ensure no parent should be made to suffer the same experience.

Mr Perkins said: "I am really encouraged, this could lead to the changes we want. I have every bit of confidence that vital changes will now be made."

The meeting follows an independent inquiry carried out by Shropshire Council, which investigated why more than 50 parents did not receive ashes after their children were cremated.

Mr Perkins, whose four-month-old daughter Olivia died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in 2007, said Mrs Dinenage had said she would be carefully considering the recommendations contained in the Shropshire Council report.

He said: "She was great, she showed her concerns and she seems to be very, very keen on making sure this never happens again, as soon as possible.

"This affects a whole nation and millions of people. I am just happy she has taken a copy of my recommendations along with those contained in the report which she said she would look at closely."

He added: "She was astonished by some of the things we told her and very surprised by some of the information we gave her. We came here to make our voices resonate and I really think we have been able to do that."

Mrs Dinenage said that listening to the experiences of the families had served to reinforce the need for action. She said:

"No parent should have their grief compounded by a system that is supposed to help. The Emstrey report had a number of recommendations and it is imperative that we consider each one carefully."

The parents also presented a 60,000-signature petition calling for changes in the law to 10 Downing Street.

Mr Perkins said handing it over had been an emotional experience for all the parents. He said: "Just walking up from the gates to Number 10 Downing Street, it was very emotional. It was like a big release that we had, we have actually got here and handed that petition over."

Shrewsbury and Atcham MP, Daniel Kawczynski, who arranged the meeting, said it had been constructive for all concerned.

He said: "It was very constructive and I am glad I managed to secure an opportunity for the parents to let the minister know at first hand, not only some of the stories they have been through, the emotional distress they have been through, but also to talk in a positive way about the steps that need to be taken to implement recommendations contained in the report."

Mr Kawczynski has secured a debate on the issue in Parliament next Wednesday.

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