All Saints’ has two churchyards. The old churchyard, which is on the eastern and northern sides of the Old Church, is closed for new burials, and, in accordance with legal requirements, is maintained by the local authority. The large new churchyard or Newells Meadow, which is on the opposite side of Ramsden Road to the old churchyard, is maintained by the church, using contractors.
Six years ago, the contractors were cutting the grass, but little more, and the old churchyard had become overgrown with self-sown sycamores, elders, brambles, wild roses and ivy. John Pentlow, one of the churchwardens, and his wife Angela, decided to try and tackle the problem, and set to work with saws and loppers to try and clear some of it. At one point, following an approach to the council, the contractors sent in a team to assist, and this enabled the bulkier items to be dealt with. This solved a lot of the problem, but far from all of it.
About two years ago John decided to try and put a small group together from members of the church to continue with this work, and to deal with a similar problem that was developing in the new churchyard. This was the start of the Churchyard Group, and the before and after photographs will give you some idea of what has been achieved.
There are currently 9 of us. The Churchyard Group meets every Thursday morning at the Church at 10.00am and works through until around 12.30, but we don’t all attend every week. The change in the churchyards has been significant. The unwanted stuff that we remove is put to one side and regularly cleared by the contractors, as I think that they acknowledge that they would never be able to tackle the work that we do on a regular basis, and it is one way in which they can say thank you.
The appreciative comments we receive by regular visitors makes the whole thing worthwhile, whilst giving us a source of exercise, and we all benefit from the fellowship. Anyone is welcome to join us, you don’t have to stay for the full period, if you can only spend an hour then that is fine. There are jobs to suit all abilities, and afterwards we get together for coffee and biscuits in the church. You do not have to be a member of the church to join us, it is open to all, so everyone is welcome.
So why not give it a try? You will, I can assure you, be very welcome. See you in the Churchyard?