Friends of the Wembdon Road Cemetery
Bridgwater, Somerset
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2017 Diary: August

Thursday 3 August

Alan, Rita & Andy in the cemetery today. Rita & Andy had the task of checking all the War Commission Memorial graves in the St Mary's section which are fine, and then all the graves and memorials, still just St Mary's section, that were for those killed in the war buried elsewhere, but remembered on family graves. Most are in need of just a tidy up, sadly some are in a pretty poor condition which we feel should be put right by 2018 to commemorate the end of the war 100 years ago. All were recorded as to what needs to be done to spruce them up again. While going around the cemetery they saw far too many graves that had been damaged by the mower, so a record of these were taken so these can be put right.

While they were doing this Alan was putting the broken kerbs and posts, damaged by the mower, back into position on the Greenslade 5/1364 grave. He then cemented them all back in, washed the green glass stones (not an easy task) that were in the centre and replaced them back in again. A good job well done. The rain held off, and while Alan was washing the stones of the Greenslades grave, Rita was weeding the graves near the tap and Andy was taking photos. Another good day's work done we went home.

Sunday 6 August

Alan, Rita, Dave, Astrid and Andy in the cemetery today. First job for Alan & Rita was to weed in front of the Boobier 12/63 Section A and to sow some grass seed. Then moved over to Section M where we laid membrane down in the Lees grave 37/912 and added stone chipping. Astrid helped Rita with the membrane and stone chippings which were put in the Upton 62/1235 grave, then they were given the task of checking all the war graves and memorials in the Non-Conformist Section. (This took quite a while as neither are very good and reading maps!) While the girls were scratching their heads over the maps, the boys set about raising the Mogg and Morrish graves which had both sunk toward each other. They did a splendid job in raising both graves, packing them up level and back filling the Morrish grave with earth. The Mogg grave now completed, and the Morrish grave had the kerbs and posts cemented back in position. All that is left to do is lay membrane and stone chipping.

Having checked and made notes on all the war graves in the Non-Conformist section the girls then started on the Davey 22/844 grave which is now cleared of weeds and ready for the boys to do their work in raising the right hand side of the grave which has sunk. Sadly this grave only has one end granite kerb, a concrete centre which is broken and a fallen headstone, both side kerbs are missing. The intention here is to level the landing, clear under the concrete centre and re-lay inside, then to slide the fallen headstone over to rest on the top, but all this for another day as time had run out and it was time for home.

It was nice to see the Symons family come in to see their family graves, and also the family with their two little girls and three legged dog who are becoming frequent visitors on a Sunday morning.

Sunday 13 August

Just Andy and Dave in today, Dave set himself the task of cleaning a number of the more prominent memorials in the cemetery. Andy busy taking photos of the war graves and family graves which had commemorations to members killed in the war but buried elsewhere. Dave was pleased with his work, the memorials he had cleaned are now sparkling white and really look splendid in the sunshine.

Thursday 17 August

Alan & Rita decided to go into the cemetery today as they were unable to go in on Sunday. When we arrived we saw Astrid there, she was taking Parsley for a walk and picking some blackberries, stayed for a chat then off to work. Andy came in later he had just been to the dentist and had a tooth out so feeling a bit sorry for himself.

Alan finished off the Morrish grave, he replaced the broken slab of concrete that had ben in the centre of the grave, put a covering of earth on top, then added membrane and stone chipping. Andy took a photo. He then moved over to the Mogg 44/919 grave where the concrete centre slab had sunk badly and weeds were thick. He dug out the weeds, removed the broken slab of concrete, back filled with earth to level the centre then returned the broken slab back in the grave. The end kerbs need to be cemented back into position and cement added to the cracked slab to strengthen it up. Due to the state of the slab we may add stone chippings. Meanwhile Rita was trimming a fir trees low branches and Euonymus tree filling two dumpy bags then moved over to a nearby holly tree and filled one more dumpy bag. Andy fetched 2 dumpy bags and held them open so Rita could put in the clippings, he then felt it was time to go home, after Alan & Rita tidied up the tools, packed the car they also went home.

Sunday 20 August

Alan, Rita, Dave and John working in the cemetery today. Lovely to have John back with us even though he is still not 100% fit with his shoulder. John & Rita were given the task of trimming the low branches off the trees, they felt they did a very good job trimming 6 trees and filling 4 large dumpy bags which were far too heavy for them to move so left it to Alan & Dave. Meanwhile Dave and Alan were working on the Thomas Davey grave who died of his wounds in the Korean War on 2nd June 1951. The grave is in a sorry state with both side kerbs missing and the headstone laid down away from the grave, the grave had sunk to one side. It was decided that we should lever up the side and pack the grave level. The concrete centre, which was in three pieces were removed so that the landing could be levered up and packed. This done the base landing was cemented back together, it was decided that we would leave putting the concrete centre pieces back until the cement had set. Once the concrete has been put back in place the headstone will be put back so that it sits on top of the grave, this job took a lot longer than they thought.

Dave and Alan dragged 6 large dumpy bags over to the Jam Factory Lane wall which had been filled with tree clippings: not an easy task as they were quite heavy! Andy came in for a chat, then went to chat with visitors to the cemetery who had been in touch with our Chairman regarding their family grave (Hurford), they had travelled up from Plymouth to visit today.

As the black clouds were looming overhead, the tools were packed up and as we left the rain began to fall, timed to perfection.

Thursday 24 August

Following Fine Memorials work in the cemetery yesterday to restore the Ricks, Webber, Davis and Read memorials, Alan and Andy decided to go into have a look and clear up around the graves. Alan picked up Andy up at the cemetery and went to Cannington quarry to pick up 8 bags of stone chipping.

The repaired Read memorial.

The first job was to sort out the Webber B56/247 grave now the headstone has been erected. The centre of the grave dug out to remove weeds and brambles, membrane and 3 bags of stone chipping added, after a quick clean of the kerbs and headstone it was ready for Andy to take a photo. Next moved over to the Read E16/405 looking splendid now the tiers and cross are back up. The debris following the restoration removed, the ground around the grave levelled ready to add fine earth and grass seed, Andy took a photo.

Webber in progress and repaired.

The heavy work done Alan and Andy decided to look at the Ricks G44/1335 grave, who was a casualty of the Titanic disaster, and the repair of this memorial was very kindly funded by Tamlyns Surveyors, Valuers and Auctioneers of Bridgwater. Cyril Rick's sister was the wife of the company's founder, William Tamlyn, so they wanted to honour this connection. What a difference Fine Memorial have made to this memorial, the stone tiers are now level and firm and the missing cross has been replaced. The monument represents a lasting tribute to Cyril Ricks. There is work required around the area, the Wilton G45/350 and the Treliving G54/344 which is immediately behind the Ricks grave have sunk and need to be levered up and packed level. This will improve the whole look of the area.

Ricks in progress and repaired. This was funded by Tamlyns of Bridgwater.

The last job was to walk over and look at the Davis F3/415 a large cross with an angel which last week was broken and laying on the ground. Not any more, the cross repaired and now back where it belongs on it tall marble plinth looking wonderful in the afternoon sun. All that is left to do now is for Dave to work his magic and give it a final clean. The inside of the triple grave is over grown with weeds, it may pay to lay membrane and chipping to restrict the weed growth which will improve the look of this fine memorial.

Davis in progress and repaired.

Alan and Andy were well pleased with their efforts today.

Sunday 27 August

Alan, Rita and John in today, plus Andy, who came in a bit later. It was a lovely sunny day, too hot to be working in the sun, but as we are so few we struggled on!! Rita and John were again trimming the low branches and twigs from the trees, after completing two, Rita on a holly and John on a non- prickly one close by, they then picked up all the debris and put in a dumpy bag. It didn't go un-noticed that John kept to the shady areas and Rita was out in the sun, but as John reminded her, and the eldest he was entitled to go in the shade.

They then moved over to the Euonymus tree by the chapel which is a tangled mass of branches really overgrown but did an excellent job in making a start on this one and were praised by Alan on the work they had completed.

Alan meanwhile cleared the double grave of Davis just restored (F 3/415) which was a mass of grass and weeds and took long time to clean up. This done he and Andy dragged another full bag of tree clippings to the dumping pile and moved over to the Ricks grave. They had a tidy around that then looked at the Treliving grave which they thought they might lever up and make level, but having looked closely at the large tomb realised this was too much of a task for them so gave it a good tidy up instead.

By now the sun was beating down on us and decided it was far too hot to carry on so we left a little earlier than usual.

Thursday 31 August

Alan decided to go to the cemetery to have a look around and also to see if Fine Memorial were in finishing work on the Squibbs 2/1257 and the Smith 1/875 both next to each other in Section M, the last of the 5 memorials that the Friends were funding to be restored. Yes they were there, and also Andy who had the same idea and was taking photos as the work progressed. Work on both memorials was well under way, the Squibbs large headstone was -up and three tier blocks on the Smith grave cemented and pinned back together with only the big cross to be put back in position. Leaving them to it Alan and Andy decided to remove the stakes and tape surrounding the area, where with the help of the Sedgemoor Conservation Volunteers, the Friends had planted wild meadow plugs last spring, this will allow the SDC mower to cut the grass in this area now that autumn is nearly here. The growth of the wild flowers was not as abundant as we had hoped due to the strong growth of the grass. Andy & Alan got back in time to see the cross being cemented back in position, what a nice sight, it is now one of the tallest memorials in the cemetery. While Fine Memorials foreman Jerry was on site, Alan and Andy thought it a good time to show him a number of other memorials that the Friends were hoping to have erected in the future and ask his advice on the practicality of having them restored. Alan and Andy left just as the rain that had been forecast started to fall.

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