Hundreds of mourners have turned out to pay their respects to a “precious” baby boy they never knew and whose name remains unknown.
The remains of the child, who would have been almost two today, were found wrapped in a blanket on an old railway path in the Seafield area of Edinburgh in July 2013.
Despite a major investigation and extensive efforts to find the boy’s mother and wider family, they have never been traced and his identity remains a mystery.
The youngster was finally laid to rest following a funeral service in the sunshine at the city’s Seafield Cemetery, close to the area where he was discovered.
More than 200 mourners gathered to say goodbye to the “wee one” who may have been up to six weeks old when he died.
Leading the service, Reverend Erica Wishart, of Tranent Parish Church, told mourners: “This is the kind of tragedy that surely touches everyone who hears about it. All of us who gather here today are grieving.
“We represent everyone in this community and beyond who feels deep sadness that this tiny baby is never going to have the chance to grow up and live his life.”
With birdsong audible in the background, Rev Wishart said those gathered mayfeel “anger and shock” at what had happened, or perhaps a whole range ofemotions.
“We are here to say goodbye to this wee one, with the dignity and respect he deserves. We are here to mourn the life that could have been. And we are here to affirm that every life is precious in God’s eyes,” she said.
“This baby boy may not have been given a name – we may not know where he came from or who gave birth to him – but the Bible tells us that God knew him even before he was born and his whole being – body, soul and spirit – is engraved on the palm of God’s hand.”
A number of mourners were visibly tearful as the boy’s tiny white coffin was lowered into the ground and as a lone piper played.
The funeral for the boy was arranged by Police Scotland and a number of local community volunteers offered their services.
Cameron McKay, 21, of Cousland, Midlothian, volunteered to play the pipes at the funeral.
Afterwards, he praised the “fantastic” turnout.
“It was quite emotional, really sad actually. Although it was a great turnout, it was quite sad to see all the people.”
Margaret Halliday, who works with the support group Angel Wings, which makes burial clothes for babies, was also among the mourners. She made a burial “pocket of love” for the boy.
She said: “I think the turnout is absolutely incredible. It’s very moving to think that there are so many people here today just to give this baby some love.
“The poor wee boy, I don’t know what his mum must be going through today, it must be horrendous for her. No matter what the circumstances, I just feel for his mum as well.”
Onlooker Carol Lind said: “He won’t be forgotten about by the Leith community, the Lochend community.
“I’m sure he’ll always be remembered, especially by me as I have got family here, and I’m sure he will be looked after.”
Following the service, numerous tributes in the form of soft toys, flowers and messages were left by mourners at the graveside.
One message read “The people of Leith will be your family”, while another said “Rest in God’s arms, goodnight little baby.”
Speaking after the service, Rev Wishart said: “Something like this touches everybody’s hearts, I think particularly when it’s a child or a baby.
“This is a great community, Leith, it’s a strong community, and I know that people were very moved when this first happened a couple of years ago.
“(The turnout’s) just been fantastic. It’s like a wave of compassion from everyone.
“We had people here from every faith, so this has cut across all sections of the community and I think it’s wonderful, the support that people have shown today, giving freely of their time and their resources.”
Afterwards, police handed out leaflets, saying their investigation is continuing and they are “still looking for the the vital piece of information which would help identify the child and his mother”.
Officers can be contacted on 0131 311 5916 or 101, where any information “will be treated in confidence and assessed and acted on accordingly”.