Celebrations were held to mark the end of a £15,000 restoration project in Lightcliffe.
The Mayor and Mayoress of Calderdale, Coun and Mrs Ali, and the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Coun Hussain recently visited the old churchyard on Wakefield Road on to help celebrate Cherishing Churchyards week and the completion of the Heritage Lottery Fund project.
Around 70 guests including the Venerable Dr Anne Dawtry, the Archdeacon of Halifax, Craig Whittaker and local councillors had the opportunity to wander round the churchyard which dates from 1670 and has over 11,000 burials before hearing from Ian Philp, the Chairman of the Friends of St Matthew’s Churchyard.
He spoke about the progress over the past three years – headstones have been revealed, access improved, benches added as well as interpretation boards and all of the burials recorded and accessible on their new website - www.lightcliffechurchyard.org.uk.
Several headstones, including those of soldiers who died in WW1 and Mark Dawson a former Mayor of Bradford, have been renovated and many family stories researched and written up.
Ian Philp praised Angela Monaghan who had had the vision and drive to get the Friends group underway.
The Mayor said he remembered driving passed the overgrown churchyard and was very pleased to see it being looked after now.
He spoke about the importance of working in partnership and the need for voluntary groups such as the Friends.
The Reverend Kathryn Buck, the Vicar of St Matthew’s Church, thanked the Friends for their work over the past few years.