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

Sunday 4 June

Lucky again with the weather today, just a few minutes of light rain during our working session. Today's workers were Alan, Andy, Kevin, Andrew and Rita. Andrew and Rita on weeding duties working their way slowly from the front gate into the cemetery, about 6 given a good weeding, plus long grass around the graves needed trimming.

Alan started on the Hill 32/67 grave looked at on Wednesday. One end kerb and side kerb with the post had sunk, they were levered up and packed and cemented back together, this done Andy and Kevin cut in the membrane then added the stone chipping to finish the job. Alan, Andy and Kevin decided to tackle the Bryant 51/955 in Plan 7 area on the Non- conformist section of the cemetery and on the end of a row that had been worked on a month ago. This was at one time a nice-looking memorial with granite kerbs and posts, unfortunately now in a sorry state, the end kerbs were gone, pushed out and hidden under earth, the side kerbs were pushed out of position and the concrete slab covering the grave had broken and sunk in the middle. The first job was to dig out the buried kerbs and chip off the old mortar that had held the kerbs and post together, the next was to remove the two halves of the concrete slab so that the earth below could be levelled, this done the concrete slab put back, before the kerbs can be cemented back in position it was agreed that wet concrete mix needs to be added around the concrete slab to provide a sound base for the kerbs and posts to be cemented back into position, this will be a job for a fine day, everything made tidy before the lads went to see how Andrew and Rita were getting on. They had worked hard and to finish off the work Andrew clipped the long grass from around the front memorial stone identifying the cemetery name, this was donated by the Co-op Funeralcare a few years ago, Andy took a photo of Andrew hard at work.

The weather was looking threating but Alan decided to look at the Temblett 27/72 grave which was in the area that Andrew and Rita had been working in. It was decided that kerb and post needed to be put back together and would be worked on in the next couple of weeks. A hasty retreat was then made as a storm cloud was right overhead and it started to rain.

Wednesday 7 June

Alan and Rita decided to go to the cemetery today to add the concrete mix in the Bryant 51/955 grave to support the kerbs and posts on the grave that Alan, Andy and Kevin had started on Sunday. First job was to go to Cannington quarry to pick up two bags of gravel for the concrete mix and while there we also picked up six bags of stone chipping. Just as they started to mix the concrete in walked Andy, he said on Sunday that he would not be available today due to other commitments, but had finished sooner than expected and as Tuesday had been such a horrible day with gales all day he thought it likely that they would be in. Concrete was mixed and added to the corners and around the edges to support the kerbs and posts and covered to stop it drying out too quickly as it was a sunny day, it should be set so that on Sunday the kerbs and posts can be cemented back in position, weather permitting.

Some time ago Kim Fisher had made a donated to purchase some stone chipping to add to a family grave Palmer 32/544 in section H. This is a double grave that had sunk badly in the centre. In this grave is buried Tom Palmer, James and Elizabeth Miller and interestingly Trumpet Major J. Palmer who died aged 85 years in 1915. After removing the weeds and laying membrane, eight bags of stone chipping was added and raked over, it is thought that at least another 4 or 5 bags will be required to bring the chipping to a level surface. Alan suggested that they could go to the quarry again to pick some up, Rita thought they had done enough today and it was time go home, so they packed up the car and also put in the two bags of cement that Dave had kindly left in the cemetery as he knew we were running short.

Sunday 11 June

Alan and Rita arrived a little earlier than normal. The first job was to cut to a manageable size branches that had fallen from the large tree on the right as you enter the cemetery. Alan and Rita then moved on to the Palmer 32/544 where on Wednesday 8 bags of stone chipping was added, Before an extra 5 bags added it was decided to lift and pack a kerb that had sunk, this done just as they were putting the additional stone in Andy arrived to give hand and also to take a photo of the finished job. I think Kim Fisher who provided the donation to purchase the stone chipping will be pleased with the result.

The lads then went on to the Bryant 51/95 and Rita concentrated her efforts on the trees along the main pathway, the growth of the saplings meant they needed to be cut back. As Alan and Andy reached the Bryant grave in walked Dave. The concrete mix added on Wednesday had set, cement was mixed and the granite kerbs and posts were cemented back in position, stone chipping added to finish off the job and Andy took a photo. The grave now looking as it once did in the 1940/50s when Robert and Elizabeth were buried. The lads then moved down to the Temblett 27/72 grave which is near the front of the cemetery. The grave was overgrown with weeds and the posts (one missing) were laid in the grave, one side and end kerb had sunk badly. It was not long before the grave was cleaned-up and the kerbs packed level and cemented back in position, a temporary post added until a better match can be found. All that is needed is to add membrane and stone chipping, this is for another day.

Dave had to leave, after packing away the tools Alan, Rita and Andy decided to have a walk around the cemetery to see where our next efforts should be directed. After some discussion it was felt Section M (St Mary's) around the Smallbone 10/878 grave as this has an impressive memorial stone. There are others in this area which have kerbstones that have sunk badly.

Thursday 15 June

Sunday 18 June

Both Andy, John and Andrew were unable to help out today, John still not fit for work with his bad shoulder. Alan & Rita went to Cannington Quarry on Thursday and dropped 8 bags of chipping off at the cemetery, but with lots of other chores to do did not stay. SDC had been in and cut the grass so the cemetery was looking good.

Our first job this morning was to lay black membrane and stone chippings in the Temblett grave 27/72. Dave arrived and he and Alan went around the cemetery leaving Rita cutting back the holly saplings and ivy from under the trees along the main pathway. Alan decided that this was the best job to do today as we would be working in shade, far too hot to be working out in the sun. Dave took the debris over to the rubbish pile and brought back a dumpy bag for us to fill. Once the bag was filled it was decided enough had been accomplished today considering the seething heat, so earlier than normal we packed up to go home, but before they left, it was such a nice day and the cemetery with the grass cut looked lovely in the sun, Alan took some photos for the diary.

Sunday 25 June

Alan, Rita, Dave and Andy in the cemetery today. Before Dave and Andy arrived, Alan & Rita had put black membrane down and filled the Mockridge grave 25/59 Section A with chippings. Rita left Alan & Dave cementing the stone pillar in the Mockridge grave and went to finish cutting down the saplings from the holly trees lining the front pathway - just 2 left to finish off. Dave made a start of clearing the ivy off the pantomime wall at the front of the cemetery while Alan mixed up the cement. Half way through the second tree Rita was called away to the 23/57 Wood grave which had been cleared of weeds, her job was to lay the black membrane so stones could be placed in this large grave. Alan, Dave and Andy then went over to the far side of the cemetery (section M) to raise and level a large 'swiss roll' style headstone of Smallbone 10/878 which had sunk badly to one side.

Joyce paid us a visit and it was lovely to see her for a chat, she handed in her 'P45' a couple of months ago as she felt that age had caught up with her and she was no longer able to help with the weeding, but she still helps out by giving wonderful talks to different organisations, and any donations are given to the 'Friends', so she helps us in a wonderful way. Rita finishing putting the stone in the Wood grave and went back to trimming her last tree in the line. The boys did a wonderful job in raising the large Smallbone headstone, levelling the kerbs and posts and cementing them all together. They then tidied the centre and filled with stone chipping, and back filled around the outside of the kerbs to finish the job off. Andy took a photo of the finished project. They also weeded the Barley 11/879 grave next door and the Fursland grave behind 31/906 which needs to be raised slightly to level the grave and then to cement the kerbstones back into position as they have all fallen over. A job for next time!

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