Friends of Lawnswood Cemetery Update

At a meeting on 5th October 2011 a Friends of Lawnswood Cemetery was formed to “enhance, promote and, including the monuments, buildings, landscape and burial records”. Half the 8-strong committee reside locally,  but the fact that Lawnswood caters for a wide area is also reflected in the committee make-up.

Participants were invited to complete a questionnaire indicating their interest in the Cemetery. The results showed that most were interested in its history and that many visited to pay their respects to deceased family – with the frequency varying widely. There was interest in learning more about the cemetery through guided walks and lectures. But the most popular activity identified was the practical work party.  The leader, Dave Blackham, Leeds Council Parks & Gardens ranger, was present and  explained what was involved. A varied range of tasks would be tackled each time, with him supplying all the tools, equipment, training and insurance. Participants just have to turn up – the more the merrier. Although the group runs from10 am 3pm there is no pressure to do a full session – sandwiches advisable for those intending to do a full day.

Cllr. & Mrs Anderson were in attendance as well as members of staff involved with the Cemetery. After the business part of the meeting was over, they were introduced to the wider audience.  Mr John Jeffreys, the Chief Bereavement Officer, outlined the plans for the approach to the Cemetery, including the missing gates. A time-frame for their reinstatement was requested. Another contentious issue is the leaving of floral tributes on the lawned areas – which considerably increases the time taken for mowing. Some new ideas are being trailed. The roof of the Columbarium was currently being repaired at considerable cost which hopefully will mean its removal from the Civic Trust’s buildings at risk register. We were also pleased to be introduced to Mr Chris Raines, the new Head Gardener at the Cemetery.

The help Leeds City Council played in getting the group up and running was noted. It was not entirely altruistic in that not only should the work-party “make a difference” but a community group increases the range of funds that can be accessed – another reason to feel confident that the Friends really can play a role in ensuring that this wonderful 65 acre space in our neighbourhood can be passed on in a good state for future generations to appreciate.

Ann Lightman

2 thoughts on “Friends of Lawnswood Cemetery Update

  1. I heard about the Friends of Lawnswood Cemetery on Radio Leeds today 30th
    Jan 12. We live in Morley and have various relatives at rest in Lawnswood. We have noticed over the last few years a deterioration in the general appearance of the area, damaged memorial plates being just one example. This leads on to one other related topic that private cars seem to drive about the area of the cemeterys paths as of right of way, sometimes showing signs of irritation if one does not move out of the way on their approach, the traffic numbers seem to increase on every visit. Now I know there are visitors with disability issues that need to visit their loved ones at rest, but there does seem to be quite a large majority who are fit enough to walk.

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  2. This car problem is one the Friends feel strongly about…wonderful to see our concerns so well expressed!The gridlocked entrance, the churned up verges, the absence of gate (and the ghastly, ineffective mesh construction) hardly provides a suitable atmosphere in which to mourn ones loved ones. There is a notice (unenforced) on the gates to say that only corteges and cars with a disability badge are allowed in. The main car park can sometimes be almost empty – but is not signed in either direction. Today I have seen two cars enter the exit only entrance…signposting is desperately needed.

    Friday we have a meeting with the Council officials to discuss what improvements are to be undertaken, with an approximate timetable. It is our understanding that there will then be public consultation so that the plan has general agreement before implementation.

    The work of the Friends can be followed on Facebook. Our email address is friendsoflawnswoodcemetery@yahoo.co.uk and our address is c/o Lawnswood Cemetery, Otley Road, Adel, Leeds LS16 6AH The subscription is £5 – a newsletter is planned plus a programme of walks.

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