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'Twisting the knife into an already broken heart' - bereaved mum's anger at council blunder

PUBLISHED: 18:17 30 September 2019 | UPDATED: 18:17 30 September 2019

Baby James Thorndyke and his mother Susie Ash. James died just before his first birthday of a rare genetic condiditon - severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). Photo: Submitted

Baby James Thorndyke and his mother Susie Ash. James died just before his first birthday of a rare genetic condiditon - severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). Photo: Submitted

Archant

An investigation is still trying to establish why bereaved parents were sent letters telling them they needed to register children, who died years ago, for school.

It is still not clear just how many grieving mothers and fathers were sent letters by Norfolk County Council - and council bosses say they are still investigating just what went so wrong.

County Hall has apologised for what they described as an "admin error", which is known to have affected at least five - and almost certainly more - families.

The EDP previously reported on four mothers who were sent letters by the council's school admissions team, asking them to register lost loved ones for school in September 2020.

Another mother who received one of the letters was Susie Thorndyke, of Forncett St Mary, near Diss.

Her son James died from Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) - a rare genetic disease - just before his first birthday.

Mrs Thorndyke said: "As soon as I saw the letter address to the parent or carer of James I knew something was wrong.

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"Just reading it felt like someone was twisting the knife into an already broken heart.

"I went to that council to register James's death and yet they make a mistake like this?

"The milestones are just so hard. I know he's never going to start school and for them to send letters like this is just not acceptable.

"There's obviously nobody working in that department who has lost a child, or they'd have realised what it does to you when every day is already a struggle. It's enough to tip you over the edge."

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council, said: "We are truly sorry for the pain and distress caused to the families who were mistakenly sent a schools admissions letter about their child who had sadly passed away.

"At the moment, our priority is contacting the families concerned so we can apologise to them directly.

"In terms of what happened, as soon as we found out the letters had been sent we launched an investigation through our internal audit department to ensure that such a mistake does not happen again.

"This should never have happened in the first place and we offer our most sincere apologies to all the families involved."

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