A mother whose son was a victim of the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital scandal, says she has been prevented from planting commemorative trees by the council.

Janet Dacombe, from West Kirby, wants to plant four trees across The Grange Cemetery, in West Kirby and Landican Cemetery, on Arrowe Park Road, near Woodchurch.

In 1991 Mrs Dacombe’s son James Christian Hooper died in surgery to repair holes in his heart.

Following his tragic death the devastated mum then found out her son’s brain , kidney, intestine and heart had been taken without permission – as part of Dutch pathologist Dick van Velzen’s organ retention programme.

This year marks 20 years since the Alder Hey scandal came to light and the inquiry which revealed the mistreatment of Ms Dacombe’s son was set-up.

In light of the anniversary Mrs Dacombe wants to plant trees that will also commemorate other causes she is involved in.

It has been 50 years since The Compassionate Friends charity was launched and 40 years since the IRA bomb that killed Lord Mountbatten and three others.

Patricia Knatchbull, the former Countess Mountbatten of Burma, became the Compassionate Friends Charity president following the bombing – a position, after her death in 2018, that was passed to Penelope Knatchbull.

Ms Dacombe feels her charity work is an important way for her to show solidarity with others who have had to deal with the loss of loved ones.

Ms Dacombe said: “The work I do helps me to cope with the loss of my son.

“I think it’s very important to give something back by helping others who have had to suffer loss.”

“The Compassionate Friends was started 50 years ago by a man in Coventry who suffered loss himself. As someone who has suffered loss, I understood how hard it is and I wanted to help in any way I could.

“I’ve been involved in their PR for a long time, but for our 50th anniversary year we’re having a big fundraising effort and I’m helping with that.

“Wherever I go I hand out leaflets, so that people know about our cause.”

Ms Dacombe is also involved in The Tree of Hope, a charity that focuses on loss, but also mental health awareness.

The Tree of Hope works with those who have suffered suicides in their family and those who are experiencing mental health issues themselves.

Ms Dacombe said: “We work with police, doctors and vicars to spread good practice. There is a lack of understanding about mental health issues and I want to help deal with that.

“In particular a lot of boys and men struggle to talk, we want to help to solve that.”

In a remarkably wide-ranging workload, Ms Dacombe has also worked with survivors of 9/11 and the Grenfell Tower fire.

Discussing the tree planting issue, Ms Dacombe said: “I will work with the council, but i’m definitely going to plant the trees i’ve said i’ll plant.

“They’re ready now, I can’t wait around. I think they’re a lovely monument.

“I was decorating my son’s grave the other day and a passing lady said ‘what a lovely thing to do, his spirit lives on’.”

Councillor Julie McManus, Wirral Council cabinet member for community services, said: “The issue of how individuals should display and live through their bereavement is very sensitive and personal and Wirral Council officers work hard to reach out and understand individual needs when providing our services.

“Wirral Council is at an advanced stage of developing a tree planting programme and we would be happy to work with this resident and use her trees as part of this.”