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Eunice was a much-loved mum

A family has come forward to say their much-loved mum, Eunice Eales, was laid to rest in her own mother's grave with the permission of church authorities at Quadring.

Eunice was just 16-months-old when her mum, Lavinia Birch, passed away and it was the daughter's life-long wish that the grave space would one day be her own final resting place.

Eunice's daughter, retired headteacher Sandra Hall, said a service led by a church minister was held in a small, graveside ceremony on May 27, 2011 after her mum's ashes were placed there "legally and correctly" with the knowledge and permission of church officials.

Consent was also given for a memorial headstone.

At the end of April, the Rev Ian Walters - who oversees St Margaret's at Quadring - appealed for information because no-one could find information in church records about the second interment.

There was a question raised about a possible secret burial, which made headlines around the world but then - after the family came forward - Mr Walters told us the church may well owe the family an apology.

Eunice, who died aged 82, was a hard working mum of five who brought up her children alone

The furore has upset her surviving children, Sandra, Jon and Alan, and an official complaint has gone to the bishop's office.

Sandra says Eunice herself would do anything to avoid an upset - or be the centre of attention.

Sandra said: "Having lived in Quadring, she went to the local school where at playtime, she would look out at her mum's grave.

"Throughout her life it was her express wish that, when she died, her ashes should be placed in the same grave as her mum and, when she did die in Torquay in March 2011, we her children, honoured that wish."

Tragic mum Lavinia Birch with three of her children, Evelyn, Reg and Freda. (2208085)
Tragic mum Lavinia Birch with three of her children, Evelyn, Reg and Freda. (2208085)

Since Eunice passed away, Sandra and a friend have made a 200-mile round-trip from Scunthorpe two or three times a year to maintain the grave.

Last October, they found a long-lasting solution to keep down weeds, putting a membrane and granite chips on the grave surface, and planting beautiful primroses.

It was those changes that triggered questions, although they weren't noticed until Christmas-time.

Sandra said: "We didn't realise that tidying a grave in this way required any further permission as we thought it was implicit in maintaining the grave under permission to place mum's ashes there."


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