Volunteers Weekend – 11th & 12th January 2020 – A brilliant effort.

The last 48 hours saw the involvement of 20 plus volunteers in total descend on St David’s Cemetery, bringing along with them three mini diggers, one dumper truck, one mini dumper truck, two huge skips, and a whole host of other  implements. The purpose of which was to finally rid the cemetery of many stone bases – of no architectural value whatsoever, that scattered to 10,000 square metre area.

Early start on Saturday 11th January by the first “wave” of volunteers

This will in turn allow much better access for visitors and will make the mowing and strimming of the cemetery much easier in the long term. Also a considerable amount of effort was put into the erecting of several marble and stone headstones that had fallen face down in the mud over 50 years ago and were uncovered over the last few months. In the coming weeks I will be adding some further stories about this weekend to the Memorial Restoration section of this website for you to see for yourself the tremendous work that has been done over this weekend. There is a tremendous satisfaction in finding and turning over these long forgotten memorials to reveal the names of those buried underneath and after careful photographic recording, these will now be added to the database in due course.

Fallen marble Headstone face down for over 50 years

The charity owes a great debt of gratitude to  Mr John Trott who thought up the idea of asking all his friends from the “Mackworth Club” – who are a group of young Freemasons from West Wales  to come along and support the charity. Richard Holmes, one of John’s friends and local businessman, brought a huge amount of machinery  on the weekend including mini diggers, and skips, together with other friends who also came along with their own mini diggers including Rob Richardson, and also Rob Holland of RP Hire Johnstown who lent us the dumper truck and tracked barrow. Without this machinery it would have been impossible to have achieved so much.

Richard Holmes arrives with his skip to begin the removal of 7 tons of stone.

On Saturday the 11th January the weather was atrocious with strong winds and heavy rain nearly all day, but this did not stop the efforts of all those involved who gave their all and stuck to the task for the whole day, only stopping for a short break. Thanks must also go to Neil of Williams Fish and Chip Shop in Lammas Street who provided 14 packs of sausage and chips to share out and was much appreciated by all.

the re-erected memorial, when after being carefully cleaned will look perfect but first will need to be sprayed with water

Sunday was a much better day weather wise – even sunny at times, and the new workforce equally gave their all during the course of the morning in clearing a lot of stones from the cemetery, the ivy off the walls and again to re-erecting two memorials that had been lying face down for decades. It was unbelievable to see how much effort everyone concerned put in over this weekend and my Trustees are eternally grateful for this huge effort of community spirit. Apart from “restoration and repair” of course the charity has had to consider the health and safety of any visitors to the cemetery, young and old, and as a result has had to make safe several of the Victorian box tombs that had become unsafe due to collapse or damage by reducing their height to ground level thereby keeping the inscriptions intact and visible. As a result the cemetery is now a much safer and tidier place in which to visit. The Charity is grateful to the Chancellor of the Diocese, the Archdeacon, and to the Diocesan Officials for the granting of a Faculty in order to carry out this important work, which has been done to exacting standards.

Sunday 12th January saw a much better day weather wise and volunteers enjoyed their morning break in the sun. Mr John Trott – organiser of the weekend can be seen on the right. All thanks to his idea a great deal was achieved. Chris Dzioba- Trustee of the charity is on the left.

Thanks to everyone involved. It was a brilliant effort. Also Robert Goodridge and Chris Dzioba – two of the Charity Trustees also attended on the two days and appreciation goes to them also for their efforts.

Richard Goodridge (Chairman)