Friends of St Peters Great Berkhamsted
The Friends of St Peter’s has an active role in the care, preservation and maintenance of the medieval church of St Peters Great Berkhamsted, including the churchyards belonging to it. They have a ‘detached cemetery, in Rectory Lane, and one of its projects is the Rectory Lane Cemetery Project.
The Rectory Lane Cemetery runs up the hill behind the Rex Cinema. The Friends of St Peter’s have received funding from the Heritage Lottery fund, and Big Lottery Fund to restore the Cemetery, with the aim to transform it and create a new community space with an enhanced wildlife domain and restored heritage features.
When they started the project, the cemetery was an overgrown, forgotten are which consisted of 3 acres of neglected scrubland, and over 1000 damaged and decaying memorials. The trees were overgrown, the gates were rusting and the Memorial Arch was crumbling.
With help from local volunteers they are creating a new Garden of Remembrance, an events area for performances and activities, and new seating areas for the use of the whole community.
They are looking for volunteers to help continue this important work.
Do you have some I.T skills, and are looking to do some volunteering from home? Then you could be a Genealogy Research Volunteer, helping to build up an online database of biographies of those buried in the cemetery. You will use online databases such as ancestry.com to find out about the lives and livelihoods of those buried there, and then write them up into brief biographies which will then be uploaded to their website.
Do you have green fingers? You could be a Grave Adoption volunteer, helping to help care for some of the 1200 memorials in the cemetery. You will initially clear the grave of weeds, and you will be expected to revisit the grave on a regular basis to keep it neat and tidy.
Are you free on Sundays? Working Parties meet on the first Sunday of each month from 2pm – 4pm to help undertake general clearing and gardening that needs to happen to keep the site looking welcoming, and they welcome new members. Tasks include sweeping leaves, raking up grass-cuttings, picking up fallen branches and twigs, weeding and watering planted graves. They are currently building a volunteer hut, so volunteers can meet somewhere warm in the winter, and refreshments are provided.
If you are interested in any of these roles, please contact the CAD Volunteer Centre on 01442 247209 or visit our website www.volunteerdacorum.org for more information.