Celebrating Volunteers, Flowers and Getting Together

Living Magazines Rectory Lane Cemetary Glee Club performance

Rectory Lane Cemetery has proved itself to be a venue for many this past month: a cool and shaded space for visitors escaping the recent heat; a location for the Hospice of St Francis to host their volunteer thank you event; a performance space for local singing group, Glee Club, to showcase what they had been learning during lockdown over Zoom, to their families. Being a public space, passers-by also stayed to listen to this low-key concert in the lower cemetery.

Glee Club organisers said: ‘The evening was exactly what we wanted it to be. Gorgeous weather, a relaxed atmosphere and the best venue for us to perform our much-anticipated show. Thank you x  I’m glad that we managed to raise some money too (nearly £200 for the project).’

It has been great to see so many people enjoying the benefits of this green space right in the middle of town. Get in touch if you’d like to take your group.

One of the remarkable things about this project is how ideas have been made into reality, concepts have materialised and visions realised. The Volunteer Retreat started out as an architect’s design. The team said: ‘It’s been brilliant to see it beautifully built by our own volunteers in the wildlife area, next to the beehives – and now, finally, we’re able to use it!  Thank you to Adrian, Brian, Dave, Rafe, Tony and Ella (the dog).

‘We are very grateful to all our grave gardeners. We still have more graves which need to be brought to life – if you think you might like to contribute in this way, just get in touch. It’s a great way to contribute – small plot, big impact!’

The Garden of Remembrance is looking beautiful with its airy planting, soft grasses and gorgeous colours. Thanks go to the small group of Berkhamsted Gardeners Society volunteers who are planting it up and managing it so well.

Lots of local Beavers, Cubs and Scouts have also been visiting. One session with Little Gaddesen Scouts was a bit different as it included an investiture in the Garden of Remembrance at the end.

There are two new noticeboards in the Wildlife area telling visitors a bit about the landscape and the wildlife that live there. Visitors can also use the QR code to upload their own sightings to the website. The information on the boards, which is now so much more visible, will help in work with school children like Swing Gate Year Ones, as they study the changing seasons. The grasses in this area are being allowed to grow long over the summer to provide habitat for a whole host of insects and small mammals. This area is rare chalk grassland so it is being managed in a way which will encourage greater biodiversity. On the upper terrace is the bug hotel, the carved tree trunk which is very useful as an outdoor classroom, and the beehives.

Last year a lone Pyramidal Orchid was spotted in the lower cemetery. This year there was another one in the lower cemetery, but in a completely different spot.

There will be various events taking place at the cemetery during August and September, including Heritage Open Days. See website for further details and booking.