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

Thursday 2 March

The Daffs Starting to emerge.

As it was a lovely sunny day, Alan and Andy decided to go into the cemetery. The main task was to finish off the King and Broom graves. While Andy was fitting the membrane in the graves, Alan was working on the Brown grave (1267) as the headstone was beginning to move, digging and adding three stone blocks at the back of the headstone did the trick, the headstone now standing plumb and firm. Once Andy had finished the membrane, Alan helped Andy fill three bags of chippings in the Broom grave, and five bags in the King grave. Andy felt that two more bags of chipping were required, he was right, so off to Cannington Quarry to get the extra bags.

The King and Broom Memorials

With the Broom and King memorials repaired with crosses up and the stone chipping added, this has competed the row of seven memorials that were once in a sorry state, and many thanks go to Kim Fisher whose generous donation made this possible. As the weather was so nice Alan and Andy had a walk around the cemetery admiring the Friends work and what plans were in store for this year.

The complete row of five crosses in six memorials

Thursday 9 March

Another sunny Thursday, Alan had a few hours to spare so rang Andy who agreed to meet him in the cemetery at mid-day. They had a walk around the cemetery and decided to do a bit of work on the Ridgement (233) and Duddridge (1090) headstones, both needing stone blocks set into the ground front and back to make them plumb and firm. They then moved on to the Rose (846) grave which was in a sorry state. The landings had sunk, the concrete slab was cracked and the kerbs had fallen in. The first job was to move all the kerbs, small headstones about a foot high and the concrete slab which had broken into several pieces. This done the next thing was to sort the landing which had broken in the middle. This was levelled up with bricks and backfilled with earth, the concrete slab was put back in place and the kerbs and headstones rested on the top for safety. These will need to be cemented back into position next time we have a nice day.

Andy was well pleased with the work we had done, the base now level, a job he has wanted to do for a while! As they were leaving they noticed that SDC had been in and trimmed the small branches that have grown up from the bottom of the two large trees at the entrance of the cemetery.

Later in the day Astrid came into the cemetery and took some pictures of the daffodiles.

Wednesday 15 March

A lovely sunny day ideal weather to cement the kerb and posts of the Rose 846 grave that Alan and Andy had put back together last week. Alan & Rita met Andy in the cemetery. Alan concentrated on cementing the Rose grave supported by Andy helping to lift the kerbs and bedding them into position. Rita in the meantime was working on the Worley, Laver 928, Horsey 929 and Escott (pot only) graves in Map 8. Before she could start Rita had to cut back the overhanging branches of a holly tree that was covering these graves.

The Rose Memorial before and after repair.

With the help of Andy good progress was made on clearing the Worley and Laver graves with a little more left to do. The Laver headstone which was face down, was lifted so that Andy could take a photo of the inscription. Alan then decided to cement the kerbs and posts back into position of the Robins grave 877 as they had been knocked over by the mower, this is the grave to commemorate the death of Gilbert Robins who was killed in France in 1916. We have organised our first group working day for this year, weather permitting, which will be on Sunday 19 March.

Sunday 19 March

First working day for the Friends this year and Spring is in the air, the daffodils are a picture, as are the primroses. Grass seed sown in February by the new headstone of Ware (1393) and refurbished grave of Barrow (992) growing nicely. Alan & Rita were the first to arrive unusually beating Andy, Dave was next on the scene followed by Andy and Andrew.

The first job was to put stakes around the wild flower area and tape off to protect it from the mower. We hope the wild flower plugs have survived the winter and have not been strangled by the grass. Hopefully some will have survived and we will have flowers showing through in the summer months. Alan, Andy and Dave were busy sorting out the Horsey (929) grave, in a poor state. Kerbs fallen in and broken, weeds growing in the centre, but they got off to a great start, they put back, levelled and packed the kerbs into position and cemented everything back together. Cleaned out the centre and left for the cement to dry. Will look better once we have placed down some membrane and filled with chipping. The Laver headstone next to the Horsey grave is laid face down in the grave, it was moved to the side of the grave so that the roots of the holly that were growing out of the grave could be cut back. It is planned for the headstone to be turned over and laid back in the grave exposing the nice clean inscription.

During this time, Rita and Andrew were working on the Rose grave (846) that Alan and Andy repaired last week, a piece of the concrete slab inside was missing so this was infilled with earth, covered in black membrane and stone chipping added to the level of the concrete slab. Now looking good. They then moved over to the Holman (1030) grave another in a sorry state sunk in and having been hit by the mower as it was partially hidden. They cleared the weeds and grass then were joined by the rest of the team who levelled up the base, replaced the kerbs in position and bagged up the loose chippings. All done with the usual efficiency, next time the cement will come out to fix it all back together again. During the winter months Dave has been working quietly when he has had a few spare hours and has been cleaning up a number of the restored graves, now looking white and pristine, to name a few: Bell (38), West (58) Smith (119) Lott (364) Roe/Howard (986). Thanks Dave a great job.

We also had the pleasure of a visit from Mr and Mrs Kim Fisher, the couple whose generous donation not only allowed the Friends to restore his great grandfathers memorial (Stevens 887) but also five other memorials resulting in a line of six graves with five crosses now standing proud in the cemetery as they were in the 1920s. Andy was on hand and asked if Mr & Mrs Fisher would stand by his great grandfathers grave for a photograph which they happily did.

Sunday 26 March

Up extra early this morning as the clocks went forward! Rita, Alan and Andrew in the cemetery today with the sun beating down on our backs - lovely - until we starting working and began to sweat! Alan cemented the kerbs and posts on the Holman (1030) grave which was cleaned up last week, just need to clean the stones and put them back inside the grave. Rita cleaned around the Washer grave which we noticed has no identifying photo number so need to put that to rights and get on the website - not sure how this has been missed. The inscription was recorded. Rita then moved on to clean out the Westlake (1014) and prepare for a photograph, but she had to call on Alan to cement the end kerb back into position as it was loose.

In the meantime, Andrew set to work on the Dash grave, another that has no photo number although this has been cleaned up before. He did a great job and thought that as we were going to take a photograph we ought to tidy up the grave next to it, which needed Alan's help as the kerbs were sunk badly. Alan also cemented in a corner post stone in the Mundy grave (453) which was loose. While the boys were tidying up the tools Rita cleared holly saplings growing up from a couple of holly trees. John came into the cemetery to see us, he is unable to attend just yet as he is being a 'carer' to his wife Sheila who has just had a knee operation, we wish her a speedy recovery.

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