Grieving couple’s pilgrimage to Seaton baby’s grave

Ray and Iris Rogers place flowers on the Seaton grave of Michael Ballard,. Picture Chris Carson

Ray and Iris Rogers place flowers on the Seaton grave of Michael Ballard,. Picture Chris Carson - Credit: Archant

A couple travelled from the Midlands last week to place flowers on the grave of a Seaton baby – a child they never even knew.

Ray and Iris Rogers have been making the annual pilgrimage to St Gregory's churchyard for the past 15 years, in a poignant act of shared grief.

The couple place flowers on the grave of Michael Ballard who died in 1980, after living for just 28 weeks.

They discovered his grave in 2003, shortly after the death of their daughter Sarah, who lived for only 28 years.

And so a special bond was formed for another family's loss.

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Mr Rogers explained: "After our daughter's death my wife and I got away for a few days in Seaton.

"This was a very sad time and going away did little to help our pain. We stayed two days but just couldn't settle.

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"But we found ourselves walking through the graveyard of St Gregory's Church where we came across the last resting place of Michael Ballard, born on October 3, 1979, and died on May 20 1980, making him just seven months old.

"We had been so engrossed in our loss but finding Michael helped us.

"We were blessed with Sarah for 28 years, Michael's parents would have been blessed for little more then 28 weeks.

"We put some flowers on the grave, said a prayer and hoped that Sarah would be looking after him.

"We left the next day still very sad but not so angry, we also said we would come back the following year on his birthday (October 3) which we have done ever since."

Despite their efforts the couple, from Tamworth, in Staffordshire, have not been able to discover who Michael Ballard was, nor whether he has any family still living locally. The church has no record.

And since 2003 there has been no sign that anyone visited his grave - until this year.

For the first time they found flowers placed there.

The couple wonder whether this was because it would have been his 40th birthday.

Mrs Rogers Added: "In his death he helped us so much to come to terms with our loss."

Anyone who can help the couple find any of baby Michael's relatives should contact the Midweek Herald - or call 07584 311478

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