With the valuable help of volunteers and the most welcome assistance of the City Parks Department, the Churchyard project is gradually taking shape.
The Old Churchyard, stretching from the Lych Gate, up past the Church and the Garden of Remembrance and to just beyond the memorial to the Walker Colliery mining disaster is now fully recorded.
All the Old Churchyard headstone inscriptions have been recoeded and entered into the computer, so for the first time in many years we can identify all those who are noted on the headstones.
Unfortunately, there are no other burial positions on record for those buried in the Old Churchyard, but at least we are now certain of those with existing headstones and even if the headstones were to degrade in the future so as to be unreadable we still know who is buried there because of the record of names and positions.
The individual headstone positions in the Old Churchyard have now been added to the Churchyard map, enabling directions to be given to interested people and we have found that the more we are seen in the Churchyard, the more interest is shown by people passing through.
We have made good progress curring back the overgrowth in sections of the Old Churchyard and this has been disposed of into the old vicarage site on the suggestion of the Parks Department. The huge amount of shrub cuttings and leaves have been used to create a natural barrier between the Old Churchyard and Walker Park, as there are a number of unauthorised crossing points which needed to be closed. Police advice is that there should be an absolute minimum of entry / exit points into any area which might have anti-social problems.
The garden of remembrance has had a great deal of effort put into it, as it was becomiong largely overgrown and it's only now beginning to look as it should - a place worthy of the name. There are plans for the garden of remembrance that include planting as many perennial flowers as possible among the shrubs around the perimeter fence. The annual Lavaterra has been planted along with some perennial, Hydrangea and Lupins. Hollyhocks and Foxgloves are being cultivated but a great deal more flowers need to be made available to make the Churchyard as colourful as possible.