A TINY pink coffin held the remains of an unidentified newborn girl as she was laid to rest a year after her body was found at a waste management plant.
At no more than 2ft long and small enough to be carried in to church by one man, the casket was a stark reminder of the young age of the child inside – named Catherine by locals who had rallied together to make sure she was given a proper funeral.
The identity of her mother is still unknown and police are keeping the girl’s DNA on file.
Baby Catherine was found at the Associated Waste Management site in Shipley on May 19 last year. Her remains were discovered on the final conveyor belt of the lengthy sorting and filtering process, which finishes with just rubble that can be recycled.
Staff from the site helped to fund the funeral and members of the Sandale Community Centre in Bradford organised it – liaising with the coroner, picking out hymns – and collecting money for a floral tribute.
More than 100 people turned out at St Winefride’s Roman Catholic Church in Bradford yesterday for the hour-long Mass.
The note attached read: “It was an absolute honour to cherish you this day. With all our love. Sandale Community Centre.”
Father Michael Hughes told the congregation: “When we hear about or become aware of the passing of the life of any child there is, quite rightly, within each and anyone of us an outpouring of sorrow and grief for the little one.”
Later he asked those present to pray for “those whose lives were touched by this tragedy”.
Following the mass the hearse moved to a nearby cemetery so Catherine could be laid to rest.
Following the grim find, the plant was closed down while officers searched through piles of rubbish for clues to the baby’s identity. In the past 12 months, officers from West Yorkshire Police have sent 37,000 letters appealing for information to homes in Bradford, Leeds, and areas of West Yorkshire which supplied waste to the depot.
It was not possible for medical experts at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, where the post mortem was carried out, to tell whether or not she had been a still-birth.
Det Supt Sukhbir Singh, who is leading the police investigation, said: “We are glad young Catherine has now been laid to rest, but today’s ceremony does not in any way mark an end to our search to find her mother.”