Prayers have been said for a baby that was found dead in woodland in Heywood.

The service took place at the St Margaret’s C of E Church on Heys Lane, and involved tributes to the child who has still yet to be formally identified.

Authorities are still attempting to trace the identity of the mother of the girl, who police have named ‘Baby Pearl’.

The body of the child was found a fortnight ago in Bluebell Forest near the River Roch and the Back o’ Th’ Moss estate.

Councillor Ray Dutton, who represents the North Heywood ward, was in attendance at the service and said the family are in the thoughts of the community.

He said: “It’s a very sad state of affairs and the child is all in our thoughts. The whole of Heywood is in mourning and grieving, and the service at St Margaret’s showed.

“It was good to hear that the baby has been named as every child deserves an identity, and the name of ‘Pearl’ is very fitting.

“We are just hoping that the mother is safe and she does come back. I am a grandfather of three children myself and I know how precious they can be, and this situation must have come from distressing circumstances.”

Police have said it is unclear whether the baby was still-born or had lived for a short time before her death.

They have appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

Cllr Peter Rush, Chair of Heywood Township Committee, said his local community have told him of their concerns.

He said: “When it happens locally you can only worry about the human spirit; we’re always very concerned when something like this happens on your doorstep.

“It was disturbing and not pleasant in any case.

“We of course have concerns about the welfare of the parent as, with respect, we do not know the mother’s state of mind.

“But I wholeheartedly agree with the police and would urge anyone with information to come forward.”

Anyone with information can call police on 07387 705768.

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