Plans to restore Rectory Lane Cemetery in Berkhamsted were boosted today (14 January) as the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund backed the project.
The Friends of St Peter’s Berkhamsted aim to restore the town’s burial ground and to enhance it as a community asset. Development funding of £73,600 will help them in their aim of securing a full grant of £952,200 in 2017.
James Moir, a trustee of the Friends of St Peter’s and convenor of the Rectory Lane Project, said: ‘We are thrilled that the National Lottery has recognised us with this support. It will enable us to step up a gear in the work that is planned to take the cemetery from a ‘dead’ to a ‘living’ space.’
The cemetery, founded by public subscription in 1842, has over 200 trees and is one of the few green spaces in the town. The Friends’ project includes:
- Conservation work on memorials, pathways, seating and walls
- Improving access and interpretation on site
- Enriching wildlife
- Digitising information on the 1,000 memorials and 7,000 burials that have taken place there.
In addition to telling stories of the lives of local dignitaries, such as the Cooper family of the agrichemicals business and the Smith–Dorrien family, there are also 27 war graves recording the local loss of lives in the First World War and Second World War.
James added: ‘There is something for everyone in the community to get involved in, from the care of wildlife to stewarding at live events. We are looking for many different skills and all are welcome. Check our website or chat to us at our market stall on the last Saturday each month.’