'Baby Boy' found dead on Kirkham riverbank remains unidentified ten years on
It has been a decade since the body of a baby boy was found washed up on a Kirkham riverbank in a tragic case that touched the hearts of the town's community.
The baby was found dead in Spen Brook, off Carr Lane, on October 1 2011. He was no more than a month old, and was believed to have been in the water for no more than five days before his tiny body was found.
A massive police investigation followed, but despite multiple public appeals and an appearance on BBC's Crimewatch and This Morning, no trace of the baby's mother was ever found.
He was laid to rest one year later at St Michael's Church in Kirkham without ever being identified. His small blue coffin was carried in by a police officer. His headstone reads simply: Baby Boy.
Local people raised more than £1,000 to pay for the funeral, but a local funeral parlour, Billingtons, stepped up to provide the service free of charge, and the money was donated to the baby units in Blackpool and Preston hospitals instead.
Ten years later, the case remains unsolved.
At the time, Lancashire police appealed for a girl who was seen pushing a pram on a dirt track near Carr Lane, Kirkham, at about 7pm on September 26 or 27 - just a few days before the body was found by a dog walker. She was tracked down and quickly ruled out of the investigation.
Police released images of the baby's brown fleece jumper in the hope of finding someone who recognised it. The item of clothing was believed to have originally been blue and white and was taken from Asda's George range.
As well as the fleece, officers found two towels, one green and one with a Union Jack pattern, at the scene. There was also a black bin bag which had Blackpool Borough Council written on it.
Kirkham town councillor Elaine Silverwood, who was the mayor at the time, said: "I can't believe it's been 10 years. There was so much distress in the town and the surrounding area. Everybody was desperate for the mother to be found.
"None of us knew the circumstances as to why the baby was abandoned. It was absolutely tragic. The police did the most magnificent job in trying to track down the mother. I remember there were posters around town appealing for the mother to come forward. There were posters in different languages that were displayed.
"A lot of money was raised. I was mayor at the time and we set up a charity and people who way out of Lancashire were contacting us, wanting to give some money to the funeral.
"He really was loved and taken under the wings of the police and the locals. He was found in an area where a lot of locals walked, often with their dogs. People were shocked because it was a tiny baby, and your heart does go out to the mum because it never emerged whether the baby was stillborn.
"Flowers are still left on his grave. There's always a teddy bear there. I and other people have often gone down and put a little bunch of flowers down for him, so he's certainly not forgotten."
A Lancashire police spokesman said: “Despite the passage of time, this case remains open pending any new lines of enquiry.
“If anyone has any information about this tragic incident, we would ask them to come forward and speak to us as soon as possible.”