Church of Scotland reiterates support baby ashes investigation

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has offered her support to the ongoing investigation into the baby ashes scandal at an Edinburgh crematorium.

It emerged last year that the remains of stillborn babies and those that had died within days of birth had been secretly buried by staff at the council-run Mortonhall Crematorium in mass unmarked graves, without the parents' permission.

Officials had told parents that there would be nothing to scatter following the cremation of their children, although it is unclear why this lie was perpetuated.

Moderator, the Right Reverend Lorna Hood today met Dame Elish Angiolini QC, who is leading the inquiry into the scandal, in Edinburgh.

Dame Elish spoke of the sensitivity of the inquiry, noting that it has included visits to crematoria and parents, as well as hospital staff who had also been told that there were no remains following an infant cremation.

Mrs Hood was formerly a chaplain at the Royal Alexandria Hospital, where her work involved pastoral support of women and families who had lost babies during pregnancy or shortly after birth.

She has previously vowed that the Church of Scotland would do whatever it could to support families affected by the revelation.

She told Dame Elish today that she was interested in the results of the inquiry and expressed her ongoing support for the investigation. She said the Church of Scotland would "continue its interest in the issue".

"I hope that this inquiry, along with a separate investigation under Lord Bonomy, will shed more light on the unanswered questions: for society, how these things came to be, and for parents and family, where the remains of their loved ones lie," she said.

"I am grateful to Dame Elish ... for her work on this difficult issue. I assured her that the Church both locally and nationally would continue to endeavour to be of use, sensitive to issues and helping those involved to come to terms with the truth."

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