Saturday 22 September 2018

Special gift for family whose baby's ashes were stolen in home burglary

Devastated mum Claire Smallwood said the burglary had left her feeling like she had lost little Holly twice
Devastated mum Claire Smallwood said the burglary had left her feeling like she had lost little Holly twice

Claire Williamson

A community has rallied to bring comfort to a family whose baby daughter’s ashes were stolen in a burglary.

The distressing theft happened in the Ballygomartin Road area of Belfast last week.

A small, clear bag containing the ashes of baby Holly — who was stillborn on November 13, 2016 — was taken from a wooden box surrounded by family photos on a bedside table.

Speaking at the time, devastated mum Claire Smallwood said the burglary had left her feeling like she had lost little Holly twice.

A local community group was contacted and it discovered that the baby’s grandmothers also had some of the ashes.

So it set about creating a special gift for the family.

Stephen Paul of Community First said it wanted to do something to help.

He explained: “We found out one of the local jewellers did a pendant on a necklace where the ashes can be put in and sealed.

“I went in and met him early in the week and explained what we were doing and he donated the items of jewellery to us.

“We had to make sure it was okay with the family, so we did it through a close friend to make sure everything was okay.”

Stephen said he hoped it  would go some way to letting the family know they are in the thoughts of local people.

“It was just a wee gesture from the group, and I don’t expect it to ease all the pain and suffering they are going through, but just a wee thing to say we are thinking about them.”

He added: “It’s a wee bit of comfort. We thought that it was a great opportunity to try and do something.”

Steven Harrison, owner of SKS jewellers on the Shankill Road, , said he had gifted the pendants because of what the family had been through.

“It’s just terrible. At least they have something to hold on to,” he added.

Claire said she was very touched by the gesture.

 “It’s nice that everyone is still thinking of us, but at the end of the day we just want Holly’s ashes back. But it’s nice that people are coming together and thinking of us, it is nice to know.”

There is still no news on the whereabouts of the ashes.

She stressed she didn’t want to know anything about those who took them, she just wanted the ashes returned.

Police are also appealing for those responsible to return them.

Inspector Paul Noble said: “Understandably, this has left the victim extremely distressed, therefore we are appealing to whoever entered the property to please do the right thing and return the bag to police.”

Anyone in the Ballygomartin Road area on December 12 between 6.15pm and 9.30pm who noticed any suspicious activity is asked to contact police.

Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News