Great job by Payback

THE Probation Service’s Payback team has been back at Darwen Cemetery
working hard to improve the area.

Under the supervision of David Luke, small groups have been spending a few
days around the end of February and early March doing a variety of jobs such
as cutting back overgrown bushes, moving a large pile of chopped
rhododendron branches across the cemetery ready for chipping, strimming
and filling graves and gashes in the land behind the C of E mound.

The biggest job they have tackled has been to clear the long path alongside Section B and down to the entrance by the south lodge and lay a few ton
of planings (gravelly bits of reclaimed asphalt). Most of the flat stones which
made up the edging gutters on either side had moved with the passage of
time but now they have been dug out and repositioned. The path from the
top side of Section B down towards the Ashton memorial has also been
renovated. Hopefully, more edging flags and planings will be put in place here.

Said Friends’ chairman John East: “The lads have worked really hard.
They must be proud of the work they have done, especially renovating the
paths and cutting back the rhodis at the bottom of Section H.
We would never have managed to do it all ourselves.”

Friends members have, from time to time, taken bags of piping hot pies up to
the cemetery for the team’s lunch. “They’ve gone down really well,” said David. “They’ve given everyone a lift, especially when it’s been a bit wild and windy.”

He added: “The Payback team like coming up to the cemetery. There are lots
of different jobs to keep them interested and they have certainly made a
difference here.”

Some small trees have been planted close to the southern boundary and others, silver birch and mountain ash, are being planted in Section C in front
of the cut-back rhododendrons

The grassy area at the front of Section C is also being extended as work on preparing the ground for seeding gathers pace.

Rhodis blocking the path between Section D and Section D2 have also been
cut back by Friends members and the path is now usable again for the first
time in years. Work on the edges of the path is a next step here.

It is also very pleasing to find that members of the public, possibly encouraged
by the work of the Friends, have been paying to have their family headstones
re-erected after lying in the grass and the weeds for years. For example, two
have been put back up in recent weeks within a few yards of
the Ashton memorial.

Harold Heys March 2011