Work starts on churchyard decay

WORK is due to start on renovating the churchyard at a Lightcliffe church.

St Matthew’s Church will be holding its first working party at the churchyard in Wakefield Road on Sunday, March 25, between 2pm and 4pm to tackle the litter, and possibly do some pruning.

People who wish to take part are encouraged to wear gardening gloves and bring pruning shears/secateurs, if they have them. If the weather is bad, please call Angela Monaghan, who is organising the event, on 07941 286821, to check it is still going ahead.

The church is hoping to set up a Friends of St Matthew’s Churchyard in a bid to give the area a complete makeover.

Residents feel the area has become neglected and could be a real asset to the community. But in order to start some of the major work the residents needed permission from St Matthew’s Parish Church Council (PCC) to set up a Friends group which has now been granted.

Angela said: “The next steps now are to form the group, arrange a survey of the churchyard and put together a development plan.”

To form the group she said they needed a draft constitution which will need to be given approval by the PCC on May 9 and the survey will need to cover a wide range of issues, including the condition of the grounds and monuments, the wildlife and plants and the heritage and history.

“It will also need to find out what permissions will be needed and from who before any work starts. We will be seeking help with this,” she said.

The development plan will then need to use the information from the survey to set out a plan of what should be done when, what resources will be needed and where to get them from, communications and much more.

Angela said they also needed to set up a Steering Group to take forward the actions. “This will include me, the Vicar Kathryn Buck, plus, we are suggesting two or three other people. So if anyone does have any experience in doing any of these things and would like to offer their help. Please get in touch with us.”

The residents want to improve the area but are respectful of the graves that are in the churchyard. Angela stressed that no work would be undertaken until all the relatives of people buried in the area had been notified.

The next Friends meeting will take place in May, after the next PCC meeting.