Parents want baby exhumed from Romsey cemetery

Grieving parents William Elkins and Cassandra Marshall who were poorly treated at the cemetery.

Grieving parents William Elkins and Cassandra Marshall who were poorly treated at the cemetery.

First published in Romsey Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

A YOUNG couple are considering exhuming their baby’s remains from a Hampshire cemetery because of their heartbreaking experiences there.

Cassandra Marshall and fiancé William Elkins buried their child Faith, who only survived for ten hours, at Woodley Cemetery in Romsey last summer.

Since the funeral ornaments left on Faith’s grave have been vandalised and on several occasions the couple say they have been harassed by council staff who did not believe them to be grieving parents.

They have now obtained forms to apply to the Winchester Diocese to remove their daughter, cremate her and keep the urn at their home.

Cassandra, 21, of Abbotswood Close, Romsey, said: “It just completely throws you.

Just when you think you are getting OK about going up there to see your child buried, something happens. It chucks you back down again.

“William and I are trying to see whether we can get Faith exhumed and cremated.

“It’s got to that point where I don’t want to go up there.”

Faith was born on May 26 last year with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia, which affects one in 2,500 babies in the UK.

It means that the diaphragm does not form properly allowing organs to migrate into the chest and stop the lungs work properly.

Cassandra and William visit her grave, marked by a wooden cross every evening after William, 26, finishes work at Romsey School.

Faith’s grave has solar-powered pink lights, lanterns and candles around it because Cassandra cannot bear to leave her daughter in the dark, but these lights have been dismantled on occasions and the lantern has been smashed.

They claim to have been approached on more than one occasion by council workers running the cemetery to ask what they are doing there.

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The first time this happened they say two staff asked them why they were there so late and accused them of smoking and having drugs at the graveside.

Cassandra said: “When they left I just burst into tears. I could not believe somebody would come up to grieving parents and be so rude.”

She added: “I like the fact that there are people up there doing a job and looking after the headstones.

“But it seems to me that just because William and I are the youngest ones up there, they’re discriminating against us because we’re young kids so we must be up to no good.”

A spokesman for Test Valley Borough Council, which manages the site, said: “Maintenance teams will often be present at cemeteries in the council’s care.

“Our staff always aim to be polite and respectful to anyone.”

• For more information on support for parents whose child has CDH visit ukcherubs.co.uk.

Comments (22)

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9:54am Fri 1 Apr 11

Elgy says...

How very awful. I thought Romsey was supposed to be a 'nice' place? On the one hand you have a complete lack of care on behalf of the council for allowing the grave to be vandalised in the first place and on the other hand you have over-zealous council staff appearing and believing this couple are causing the trouble. Bizarre.
How very awful. I thought Romsey was supposed to be a 'nice' place? On the one hand you have a complete lack of care on behalf of the council for allowing the grave to be vandalised in the first place and on the other hand you have over-zealous council staff appearing and believing this couple are causing the trouble. Bizarre. Elgy
  • Score: 0

9:55am Fri 1 Apr 11

SuzSquirrel says...

Absolutely, SVL... :-(

Can't even begin to imagine what these parents went through losing their child in the first place - then to be treated so shockingly. The whole thing is appalling. :-(
Absolutely, SVL... :-( Can't even begin to imagine what these parents went through losing their child in the first place - then to be treated so shockingly. The whole thing is appalling. :-( SuzSquirrel
  • Score: 0

10:50am Fri 1 Apr 11

Linesman says...

I have every sympathy for this young couple.

However, I am not in favour of graves being decorated as is shown in the photograph. Where flowers wilt and die, toys etc just become litter.
I have every sympathy for this young couple. However, I am not in favour of graves being decorated as is shown in the photograph. Where flowers wilt and die, toys etc just become litter. Linesman
  • Score: 0

10:56am Fri 1 Apr 11

News Fanatic says...

Linesman wrote:
I have every sympathy for this young couple.

However, I am not in favour of graves being decorated as is shown in the photograph. Where flowers wilt and die, toys etc just become litter.
I agree. The dignity of cemeteries has to be preserved and they should not be allowed to become unsightly. There is a simple solution: cremation. Then the shrine can be created in the home.
[quote][p][bold]Linesman[/bold] wrote: I have every sympathy for this young couple. However, I am not in favour of graves being decorated as is shown in the photograph. Where flowers wilt and die, toys etc just become litter.[/p][/quote]I agree. The dignity of cemeteries has to be preserved and they should not be allowed to become unsightly. There is a simple solution: cremation. Then the shrine can be created in the home. News Fanatic
  • Score: 0

11:02am Fri 1 Apr 11

pod says...

sotonwinch09 wrote:
pod wrote: I did not report you for saying they were good looking (or are you physic) I reported you because I questioned the need to make any comment that was not relevant to the article.
I bet you feel so proud sat behind a computer reporting people feeling like a Mini Hitler. Do you write into Ofcom when someone swears on the TV as well? Anyway - Note to Echo.... This is obviously going nowhere. Please delete all comment from this article. Thanks :)
too late mate, I have already asked for this to happen, just did not feel the need to shout about it.
my apologies to you my friend, you obviously have some unresolved issues, and maybe I do as well, by horrible coincidence I have taken today off work to visit my babys grave in hollybrook, 2 years today. I am happy to say it has never been vandalised in this way.
[quote][p][bold]sotonwinch09[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]pod[/bold] wrote: I did not report you for saying they were good looking (or are you physic) I reported you because I questioned the need to make any comment that was not relevant to the article.[/p][/quote]I bet you feel so proud sat behind a computer reporting people feeling like a Mini Hitler. Do you write into Ofcom when someone swears on the TV as well? Anyway - Note to Echo.... This is obviously going nowhere. Please delete all comment from this article. Thanks :)[/p][/quote]too late mate, I have already asked for this to happen, just did not feel the need to shout about it. my apologies to you my friend, you obviously have some unresolved issues, and maybe I do as well, by horrible coincidence I have taken today off work to visit my babys grave in hollybrook, 2 years today. I am happy to say it has never been vandalised in this way. pod
  • Score: 0

11:14am Fri 1 Apr 11

pod says...

should have read 32 years, but it makes no difference the pain never goes away
should have read 32 years, but it makes no difference the pain never goes away pod
  • Score: 0

11:51am Fri 1 Apr 11

Dirty Harry says...

Linesman wrote:
I have every sympathy for this young couple. However, I am not in favour of graves being decorated as is shown in the photograph. Where flowers wilt and die, toys etc just become litter.
I agree with Linesman's remark. It is a shame this young couple were harassed by staff.....BUT due to their appearance and being very young staff may have just been checking that THEY were not the vandals desecrating graves. Many young people today get so fueled up on booze cemeteries and parks become drinking dens. Its a shame they have been treated like this but sadly its society today.
[quote][p][bold]Linesman[/bold] wrote: I have every sympathy for this young couple. However, I am not in favour of graves being decorated as is shown in the photograph. Where flowers wilt and die, toys etc just become litter.[/p][/quote]I agree with Linesman's remark. It is a shame this young couple were harassed by staff.....BUT due to their appearance and being very young staff may have just been checking that THEY were not the vandals desecrating graves. Many young people today get so fueled up on booze cemeteries and parks become drinking dens. Its a shame they have been treated like this but sadly its society today. Dirty Harry
  • Score: 0

1:00pm Fri 1 Apr 11

xxfaithsmommyxx says...

can I just state in a very friendly manner this is in no way at all intended to be offencive to any one that my daughters grave does not look like litter as the article says we go up there every night and I myself during the day most weeks aswell and for all off winter she has had beautiful artificial flowers up there and in the summer she has real ones that I never let them wilt or look horrible as I go up there so often and her grave never looks like litter or a mess as if i wont new things on her grave i always take some things back so it one never looks the same for a long time and two so it never gets over crowded ......
can I just state in a very friendly manner this is in no way at all intended to be offencive to any one that my daughters grave does not look like litter as the article says we go up there every night and I myself during the day most weeks aswell and for all off winter she has had beautiful artificial flowers up there and in the summer she has real ones that I never let them wilt or look horrible as I go up there so often and her grave never looks like litter or a mess as if i wont new things on her grave i always take some things back so it one never looks the same for a long time and two so it never gets over crowded ...... xxfaithsmommyxx
  • Score: 0

1:03pm Fri 1 Apr 11

xxfaithsmommyxx says...

oh and about our appearance what does that mean ? do people expect us to look like were always going to a funerual everyday and go up there in suits ?
oh and about our appearance what does that mean ? do people expect us to look like were always going to a funerual everyday and go up there in suits ? xxfaithsmommyxx
  • Score: 0

1:13pm Fri 1 Apr 11

wilson castaway says...

Dont even bother wih most of the posters on this site,They will look down thier noses at everyone who doesn't qualify to thier 'ideals'.Years ago me and my nan would visit her mothers grave every sunday to replace flowers and tidy the area,there is no difference in placing flowers on a grave to placing a few teddies and candles.You obviously tend to your daughters grave with care and I feel for you greatly.
Dont even bother wih most of the posters on this site,They will look down thier noses at everyone who doesn't qualify to thier 'ideals'.Years ago me and my nan would visit her mothers grave every sunday to replace flowers and tidy the area,there is no difference in placing flowers on a grave to placing a few teddies and candles.You obviously tend to your daughters grave with care and I feel for you greatly. wilson castaway
  • Score: 0

1:14pm Fri 1 Apr 11

Saintlygirl says...

Please stop being so negative calling shrines Etc at graves like litter! Everyone copes differently with loss of a precious life, and my heart truly goes out to anyone who has to be victims of their loved ones graves being vandalised; particularly when it's a child or baby. I cannot imagine what it's like for them and don't blame them at all for their wishes. Respect to them. X
Please stop being so negative calling shrines Etc at graves like litter! Everyone copes differently with loss of a precious life, and my heart truly goes out to anyone who has to be victims of their loved ones graves being vandalised; particularly when it's a child or baby. I cannot imagine what it's like for them and don't blame them at all for their wishes. Respect to them. X Saintlygirl
  • Score: 0

1:51pm Fri 1 Apr 11

WhoMe? says...

xxfaithsmommyxx wrote:
can I just state in a very friendly manner this is in no way at all intended to be offencive to any one that my daughters grave does not look like litter as the article says we go up there every night and I myself during the day most weeks aswell and for all off winter she has had beautiful artificial flowers up there and in the summer she has real ones that I never let them wilt or look horrible as I go up there so often and her grave never looks like litter or a mess as if i wont new things on her grave i always take some things back so it one never looks the same for a long time and two so it never gets over crowded ......
I hope your baby is looking down from heaven and smiling that you have made her bed so pretty. I think the lights are lovely, as you say you don't want her left alone in the dark. So sad though. xx
[quote][p][bold]xxfaithsmommyxx[/bold] wrote: can I just state in a very friendly manner this is in no way at all intended to be offencive to any one that my daughters grave does not look like litter as the article says we go up there every night and I myself during the day most weeks aswell and for all off winter she has had beautiful artificial flowers up there and in the summer she has real ones that I never let them wilt or look horrible as I go up there so often and her grave never looks like litter or a mess as if i wont new things on her grave i always take some things back so it one never looks the same for a long time and two so it never gets over crowded ......[/p][/quote]I hope your baby is looking down from heaven and smiling that you have made her bed so pretty. I think the lights are lovely, as you say you don't want her left alone in the dark. So sad though. xx WhoMe?
  • Score: 0

2:09pm Fri 1 Apr 11

Scrutinizer says...

xxfaithsmommyxx wrote:
oh and about our appearance what does that mean ? do people expect us to look like were always going to a funerual everyday and go up there in suits ?
Firstly, and above everything else, all sympathy and condolences to you and your partner. Personally I can understand having some limits with respect to the sort of items and quantity that are left at graves. However, I believe it to be completely wrong for people to criticise your appearance just because it doesn't conform to their idea of how people should appear when visiting a cemetery. I hope you won't be intimidated by these people. Actually I'm sure that you are strong enough not to be. The very best of wishes to you both during this extremely difficult time.
[quote][p][bold]xxfaithsmommyxx[/bold] wrote: oh and about our appearance what does that mean ? do people expect us to look like were always going to a funerual everyday and go up there in suits ?[/p][/quote]Firstly, and above everything else, all sympathy and condolences to you and your partner. Personally I can understand having some limits with respect to the sort of items and quantity that are left at graves. However, I believe it to be completely wrong for people to criticise your appearance just because it doesn't conform to their idea of how people should appear when visiting a cemetery. I hope you won't be intimidated by these people. Actually I'm sure that you are strong enough not to be. The very best of wishes to you both during this extremely difficult time. Scrutinizer
  • Score: 0

2:21pm Fri 1 Apr 11

freemantlegirl2 says...

How awful for this couple, as if they aren't traumatised enough :( :(

I hope you can find some way round this, and Linesman that was a bit insensitive, whilst it may not be your cuppa, everyone grieves in their own way. It's not harming anyone so they should be able to put what they like on their child's grave.

My sincere condolences to you both and to Pod also. Loosing a child is so awful to contemplate, my heartfelt sympathy to you.

As for the lowlifes that choose to vandalise graves, they should be looking very closely at their own lives.. and how lucky they are not ruining others....
How awful for this couple, as if they aren't traumatised enough :( :( I hope you can find some way round this, and Linesman that was a bit insensitive, whilst it may not be your cuppa, everyone grieves in their own way. It's not harming anyone so they should be able to put what they like on their child's grave. My sincere condolences to you both and to Pod also. Loosing a child is so awful to contemplate, my heartfelt sympathy to you. As for the lowlifes that choose to vandalise graves, they should be looking very closely at their own lives.. and how lucky they are not ruining others.... freemantlegirl2
  • Score: 0

2:51pm Fri 1 Apr 11

clairel86 says...

Cassandra, firstly I want to say I am so sorry for your loss. My 3 year old son was born with CDH and not a day goes by where I am not grateful that he is here. I wish you luck with getting the permission to have Faith exhumed and cremated. It is unbelievable that anyone would want to vandalise any grave, let alone one that is so obviously for a child. And to the posters above who feel the need to comment on your appearance or the way you choose to decorate your baby's grave - who do you think you are? You have absolutely NO right to judge anyone on how they look, and certainly not on the objects that they want their baby to have. I only hope none of you are ever in the position of having to place flowers or ornaments on the grave of a baby. It would be a sorry looking grave without those ornaments, Faith's garden is beautiful. Shame on you.
Cassandra, firstly I want to say I am so sorry for your loss. My 3 year old son was born with CDH and not a day goes by where I am not grateful that he is here. I wish you luck with getting the permission to have Faith exhumed and cremated. It is unbelievable that anyone would want to vandalise any grave, let alone one that is so obviously for a child. And to the posters above who feel the need to comment on your appearance or the way you choose to decorate your baby's grave - who do you think you are? You have absolutely NO right to judge anyone on how they look, and certainly not on the objects that they want their baby to have. I only hope none of you are ever in the position of having to place flowers or ornaments on the grave of a baby. It would be a sorry looking grave without those ornaments, Faith's garden is beautiful. Shame on you. clairel86
  • Score: 0

4:41pm Fri 1 Apr 11

SpittingFire says...

xxfaithsmommyxx wrote:
can I just state in a very friendly manner this is in no way at all intended to be offencive to any one that my daughters grave does not look like litter as the article says we go up there every night and I myself during the day most weeks aswell and for all off winter she has had beautiful artificial flowers up there and in the summer she has real ones that I never let them wilt or look horrible as I go up there so often and her grave never looks like litter or a mess as if i wont new things on her grave i always take some things back so it one never looks the same for a long time and two so it never gets over crowded ......
Miss Marshall, my deepest sympathy to you and your partner for your loss and the pain you're having to go through now.
.
No-one after laying someone to rest should have to go through the torment of exhuming their loved one because of their treatment when paying their respects and grieving for their loss at the cemetery.
.
It's my sincerest hope that public awareness of your situation now means you can grieve in peace at the cemetery. My best wishes to you both for the future x
[quote][p][bold]xxfaithsmommyxx[/bold] wrote: can I just state in a very friendly manner this is in no way at all intended to be offencive to any one that my daughters grave does not look like litter as the article says we go up there every night and I myself during the day most weeks aswell and for all off winter she has had beautiful artificial flowers up there and in the summer she has real ones that I never let them wilt or look horrible as I go up there so often and her grave never looks like litter or a mess as if i wont new things on her grave i always take some things back so it one never looks the same for a long time and two so it never gets over crowded ......[/p][/quote]Miss Marshall, my deepest sympathy to you and your partner for your loss and the pain you're having to go through now. . No-one after laying someone to rest should have to go through the torment of exhuming their loved one because of their treatment when paying their respects and grieving for their loss at the cemetery. . It's my sincerest hope that public awareness of your situation now means you can grieve in peace at the cemetery. My best wishes to you both for the future x SpittingFire
  • Score: 0

5:03pm Fri 1 Apr 11

xxfaithsmommyxx says...

WhoMe? wrote:
xxfaithsmommyxx wrote: can I just state in a very friendly manner this is in no way at all intended to be offencive to any one that my daughters grave does not look like litter as the article says we go up there every night and I myself during the day most weeks aswell and for all off winter she has had beautiful artificial flowers up there and in the summer she has real ones that I never let them wilt or look horrible as I go up there so often and her grave never looks like litter or a mess as if i wont new things on her grave i always take some things back so it one never looks the same for a long time and two so it never gets over crowded ......
I hope your baby is looking down from heaven and smiling that you have made her bed so pretty. I think the lights are lovely, as you say you don't want her left alone in the dark. So sad though. xx
what a beautiful thing to say thank you so very much that was lovely
[quote][p][bold]WhoMe?[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]xxfaithsmommyxx[/bold] wrote: can I just state in a very friendly manner this is in no way at all intended to be offencive to any one that my daughters grave does not look like litter as the article says we go up there every night and I myself during the day most weeks aswell and for all off winter she has had beautiful artificial flowers up there and in the summer she has real ones that I never let them wilt or look horrible as I go up there so often and her grave never looks like litter or a mess as if i wont new things on her grave i always take some things back so it one never looks the same for a long time and two so it never gets over crowded ......[/p][/quote]I hope your baby is looking down from heaven and smiling that you have made her bed so pretty. I think the lights are lovely, as you say you don't want her left alone in the dark. So sad though. xx[/p][/quote]what a beautiful thing to say thank you so very much that was lovely xxfaithsmommyxx
  • Score: 0

5:05pm Fri 1 Apr 11

xxfaithsmommyxx says...

pod ........ i am so very sorry to hear of the loss if your child to big hugs to you i feel very happy not you felt that you could share this on here :)
pod ........ i am so very sorry to hear of the loss if your child to big hugs to you i feel very happy not you felt that you could share this on here :) xxfaithsmommyxx
  • Score: 0

5:09pm Fri 1 Apr 11

xxfaithsmommyxx says...

clairel86 wrote:
Cassandra, firstly I want to say I am so sorry for your loss. My 3 year old son was born with CDH and not a day goes by where I am not grateful that he is here. I wish you luck with getting the permission to have Faith exhumed and cremated. It is unbelievable that anyone would want to vandalise any grave, let alone one that is so obviously for a child. And to the posters above who feel the need to comment on your appearance or the way you choose to decorate your baby's grave - who do you think you are? You have absolutely NO right to judge anyone on how they look, and certainly not on the objects that they want their baby to have. I only hope none of you are ever in the position of having to place flowers or ornaments on the grave of a baby. It would be a sorry looking grave without those ornaments, Faith's garden is beautiful. Shame on you.
claire186 its wonderfull to hear from you another cdh mommy :( its so sad at the same time that so many of us have to be effected in this way thank you so much for your comments on this i hope your cdh son is doing very well :)
[quote][p][bold]clairel86[/bold] wrote: Cassandra, firstly I want to say I am so sorry for your loss. My 3 year old son was born with CDH and not a day goes by where I am not grateful that he is here. I wish you luck with getting the permission to have Faith exhumed and cremated. It is unbelievable that anyone would want to vandalise any grave, let alone one that is so obviously for a child. And to the posters above who feel the need to comment on your appearance or the way you choose to decorate your baby's grave - who do you think you are? You have absolutely NO right to judge anyone on how they look, and certainly not on the objects that they want their baby to have. I only hope none of you are ever in the position of having to place flowers or ornaments on the grave of a baby. It would be a sorry looking grave without those ornaments, Faith's garden is beautiful. Shame on you.[/p][/quote]claire186 its wonderfull to hear from you another cdh mommy :( its so sad at the same time that so many of us have to be effected in this way thank you so much for your comments on this i hope your cdh son is doing very well :) xxfaithsmommyxx
  • Score: 0

6:28pm Fri 1 Apr 11

pod says...

xxfaithsmommyxx wrote:
pod ........ i am so very sorry to hear of the loss if your child to big hugs to you i feel very happy not you felt that you could share this on here :)
Hi Cassandra,
just got back from Hollybrook, and would like to say it looks stunning in the childrens section, the whole place is awash with flowers, lights teddies and balloons, in a strange way it always gives me a lift going there, david is resting in a lovely place with lots of other children who did not make it to adulthood., I have just planted a huneysuckle climber there.
Been thinking about you both and faith all day and would like to send you lots of love. Ignore all the nasty swipes from some of the morons on here, thankfully now deleted, guess wot?? I have purple spikey hair and I am now 58, and I get plenty of 'looks' who cares, I know I am a good human being, looking 'normal' (and that is only a cycle on a washing machine) is not a passport to leading a good honest kind life.
It does not get easier only different, and we all carry on because we have to. That is life I'm afraid.

big hugs
[quote][p][bold]xxfaithsmommyxx[/bold] wrote: pod ........ i am so very sorry to hear of the loss if your child to big hugs to you i feel very happy not you felt that you could share this on here :)[/p][/quote]Hi Cassandra, just got back from Hollybrook, and would like to say it looks stunning in the childrens section, the whole place is awash with flowers, lights teddies and balloons, in a strange way it always gives me a lift going there, david is resting in a lovely place with lots of other children who did not make it to adulthood., I have just planted a huneysuckle climber there. Been thinking about you both and faith all day and would like to send you lots of love. Ignore all the nasty swipes from some of the morons on here, thankfully now deleted, guess wot?? I have purple spikey hair and I am now 58, and I get plenty of 'looks' who cares, I know I am a good human being, looking 'normal' (and that is only a cycle on a washing machine) is not a passport to leading a good honest kind life. It does not get easier only different, and we all carry on because we have to. That is life I'm afraid. big hugs pod
  • Score: 0

10:27pm Fri 1 Apr 11

EP says...

I love your tattoo, beautiful :)
Hope you get the answer you so badly want, the garden is lovely x
I love your tattoo, beautiful :) Hope you get the answer you so badly want, the garden is lovely x EP
  • Score: 0

12:40am Sat 2 Apr 11

xxfaithsmommyxx says...

can my fience and I just say thank you very much to all the people who have read our story and for all off the lovely comments and for saying your own thoughts feelings and opinions in a respectible adult manner and pod wow your hair sounds amazing !!!!
can my fience and I just say thank you very much to all the people who have read our story and for all off the lovely comments and for saying your own thoughts feelings and opinions in a respectible adult manner and pod wow your hair sounds amazing !!!! xxfaithsmommyxx
  • Score: 0

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