A great-grandmother who has finally discovered the resting place of her stillborn baby girl after 76 years has described her sense of “big relief”.

Marjorie Rigby, 102, told BBC North West Tonight that after being in labour for three days in September 1946 she overheard a consultant’s conversation.

She said he told the matron: “This baby is dead. We’ll get her into hospital.”


Marjorie, from Dukinfield, Greater Manchester, said: “He just spoke to her really, rather than me.”

Even though she knew her daughter was dead, she still then had to deliver her.

For more than 70 years after that traumatic time, Marjorie never knew what had happened next.

“I was just taken back to my room and left,” she said. “No-one came to talk to me and tell me how to get on with life.”

Image source, Family handout

Image caption, Marjorie Rigby said she was “just left” after her stillbirth

Marjorie said she was sent home two weeks later – standard practice for the time.

“I just went home and carried on,” Marjorie, who was in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in World War Two, recalled.

She went on to have two more daughters but her oldest child, Laura, was never far from her mind.

“Every year I get a new diary at Christmas and the first date I put in is 3 September – Laura’s birthday,” she said. “Every year for 70-odd years.”

Image source, Family handout

Image caption, The family laid flowers on baby Laura’s resting place

Earlier this year, BBC North West Tonight told the story of Lilian Thorpe, who found her stillborn son’s grave after 61 years.

After watching that programme Marjorie’s daughter, Angela Rigby, did some research and found the charity Brief Lives Remembered.

It traced Laura’s grave to a cemetery in Stockport, as well as advising the family about how to get the stillbirth certificate that means so much to them.

Image caption, Marjorie’s daughter, Angela Rigby, contacted the charity Brief Lives Remembered

Angela said: “We found out that our sister had her own little coffin and had been buried with five other babies and an adult in an unmarked plot.

“We told mum and we went to see the plot and just took a little bunch of flowers from the garden.

“The look of peace on mum’s face was worth everything. It was just amazing.”

Marjorie said: “It’s really been a big relief to know where she is and that she was actually put in a coffin with other babies,” she said, adding that she felt a “sort of peace now”.

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