Hundreds turn out for funeral of girl nobody knows

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Hundreds turn out for funeral of girl nobody knows

Baby Raihana, whose mother was never found (Picture: Getty Images)

Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral of a stillborn baby girl who nobody knew.

The baby, named Raihana by officers who found her, was given an official naming ceremony before her coffin was lowered into the ground in Oxford.

A sign to be erected beside the small grave read: ‘RIP Raihana. Born asleep February 2016.’

OXFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 18: Floral tributes are left close to the graveside at the funeral of a baby girl who was found dead on a footpath earlier this year at Wolvercote Cemetery on October 18, 2016 in Oxford, England. The baby, who was believed to have been stillborn, was found dead on a footpath by a member of the public. Despite an extensive appeal by Thames Valley Police the mother of the baby, who the police have named Raihana, has never been found. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

(Picture: Getty Images)

OXFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 18: Mourners walk through the cemetery for the funeral of a baby girl who was found dead on a footpath earlier this year at Wolvercote Cemetery on October 18, 2016 in Oxford, England. The baby, who was believed to have been stillborn, was found dead on a footpath by a member of the public. Despite an extensive appeal by Thames Valley Police the mother of the baby, who the police have named Raihana, has never been found. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

(Picture: Getty Images)

Nobody was ever able to find Raihana’s family. Det Insp Jim Holmes – the officer who named her – put out a final appeal to find Raihana’s mother before the funeral.

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Metro.co.uk began a financial appeal to raise money for the baby’s funeral, and for people to donate in her memory.

‘No matter how small the lead, we will follow it up,’ he said, in a moving speech delivered at Raihana’s graveside.

‘We will keep on trying to find your mother. That is my promise to you.’

OXFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 18: Floral tributes are left close to the graveside at the funeral of a baby girl who was found dead on a footpath earlier this year at Wolvercote Cemetery on October 18, 2016 in Oxford, England. The baby, who was believed to have been stillborn, was found dead on a footpath by a member of the public. Despite an extensive appeal by Thames Valley Police the mother of the baby, who the police have named Raihana, has never been found. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

(Picture: Getty Images)

OXFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 18: Mourners walk through the cemetery for the funeral of a baby girl who was found dead on a footpath earlier this year at Wolvercote Cemetery on October 18, 2016 in Oxford, England. The baby, who was believed to have been stillborn, was found dead on a footpath by a member of the public. Despite an extensive appeal by Thames Valley Police the mother of the baby, who the police have named Raihana, has never been found. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

(Picture: Getty Images)

Members of the public left pink teddy bears and bouquets of flowers, along with notes of remembrance.

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Det Insp Holmes chose her name because it is known across the Arabic-speaking world, and means ‘heaven’s flower’.

He continued: ‘For someone who was on the earth for such a short time, you have touched the hearts and minds of the community and the entire country.

‘You have left an indelible mark.’

OXFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 18: Mourners write in a book of condolences as they arrive for the funeral of a baby girl, who was found dead on a footpath earlier this year, at Wolvercote Cemetery, on October 18, 2016 in Oxford, England. The baby, who was believed to have been stillborn, was found dead on a footpath by a member of the public. Despite an extensive appeal by Thames Valley Police the mother of the baby, who the police have named Raihana, has never been found. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

(Picture: Getty Images)

OXFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 18: Mourners write in a book of condolences as they arrive for the funeral of a baby girl, who was found dead on a footpath earlier this year, at Wolvercote Cemetery, on October 18, 2016 in Oxford, England. The baby, who was believed to have been stillborn, was found dead on a footpath by a member of the public. Despite an extensive appeal by Thames Valley Police the mother of the baby, who the police have named Raihana, has never been found. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

(Picture: Getty Images)

The service was carried out by a celebrant from the British Humanist Association, who said: ‘The little girl we are saying goodbye to today remains unknown.

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‘Her mother unfortunately has not come forward so we know nothing about her family or her heritage.

‘We can’t say if her mother had any personal religion.

‘We have our humanity in common, knowing it is what brings us together today.

‘This little girl is one of our own and one of our community.

‘We are giving her a home in our hearts.’