EDP and Evening News helps school boy get access to mother’s ashes

Caleb Manship who had to wait for his mothers ashes to be returned by the Norfolk and Norwich Univer

Caleb Manship who had to wait for his mothers ashes to be returned by the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital after they initially stated that it was not their policy to do so. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

A 16-year-old boy who was denied access to his mother's ashes has today spoken of his relief after this newspaper helped overturn the decision.

Caleb Manship was left with no family and just £70 inheritance when his mum, Sonya, died from a liver condition on St Valentine's Day this year, aged 51.

The Hethersett Academy pupil had hoped to scatter her ashes at their favourite park in Blakeney, following the funeral and cremation in Norwich last month.

But he was allegedly told that he could not take home her remains as the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (N&N) had paid for the service.

Instead he would have to scatter them at Earlham Crematorium in Norwich on one of just a handful of available dates.

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He said: 'I felt disgusted because they were not even going to let me choose a date and they know I am in the middle of my GCSEs.

'My mum agreed where she wanted them to go and she used to go to that park a lot even without me. She just loved it there.'

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A hospital spokesman said that due to a contract with a funeral director, the crematorium retains the patient's ashes. It then invites any relatives to scatter the ashes at a special ceremony in its grounds.

But it has since agreed to release the ashes to Caleb after it was contacted by this newspaper.

He added: 'It is a really big relief just to know I can get them and do what I want to do with them, rather than someone try to force what they want to do on me.'

The N&N covered the costs of the funeral and cremation after Caleb's mum died at the hospital in February.

With no relatives to live with and almost no money in his bank, he faced the prospect of having to go into a children's home.

But family friends Scott Westrop and his wife Katie decided to look after him along with their own two children in Hellesdon.

He said: 'We were waiting to hear from them about the ashes. We assumed you could collect them and Caleb could do what he wanted with them.

'But they said they weren't going to release the ashes and said that because the hospital paid for the cremation, the ashes belonged to them.

A hospital spokesman said if a patient died in hospital and there are no funds to pay for a funeral, it would cover the costs.

It paid £1,390 for the funeral of Caleb's mother.

The spokesman added: 'Families are always informed of the date and time of the funeral and invited to attend,' the spokesman said.

'As part of the contract made with the funeral director, the crematorium retains the patient's ashes and invites any relatives to scatter the ashes in a ceremony at the crematorium.

'In this case, arrangements have been made for the ashes to be released to the son.'

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