AN elderly couple say they cannot rest until they find where their stillborn baby, who died more than 50 years ago, is buried.

Judith Leigh gave birth to a baby daughter at Townley’s Hospital — now the Royal Bolton — on July 19, 1960.

Mrs Leigh and her husband, Sam, have no knowledge of what happened to their daughter after she died.

The heartbroken couple never saw or touched their child as it was common practice at the time for stillborn children to be taken away and buried without ceremony. Many parents of stillborn babies were often left not knowing where they were buried.

Mrs Leigh, aged 71, said: “I don’t know if I feel hopeful about finding her but I can’t give up. You would think that after 51 years we would have got over it but we can’t. She was my first child. I was 20 years old and I was in real shock. I didn’t know anything was wrong with the baby.

I was unconscious when she was born. They said the baby was in distress and that was it.” Mr Leigh, a retired pipe fitting welder, aged 73, said: “I rang up the hospital in the morning and they told me the baby had died. I went to the ward and a nurse came out and asked if I wanted to see the baby. I said no because I wanted to get to Judith. I now wish I had just looked.”

The couple give money to Rainbow House children’s charity in Manchester every year on their daughter’s birthday.

The couple, of Bowness Road, Little Lever, went on to have four daughters and now have nine grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

Daughter Susanne Leighton, aged 36, has been helping her parents in their search for the past year.

She said: “Mum mentioned about not knowing where her baby was buried and I could see how upset she was. I thought it would be easier to find her but I have been surprised how hard it is.” The family have trawled through records and cemeteries in Bolton and Salford — they lived in Little Hulton at the time — and contacted Brief Lives Remembered, a website which aims to help families find their stillborn babies.

Can you help? Contact reporter Miranda Newey on 01204 537237 or miran da.newey@theboltonnews. ● Today, stillborn babies can be buried or cremated with a service, organised by Bolton Council’s Cemetery Service which it arranges through the Royal Bolton Hospital