Friends of the Wembdon Road Cemetery
Bridgwater, Somerset
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2018 Diary: July

Sunday 1 July 2018

Weather overcast and humid with a threat of thunder showers later. Alan, Rita and Dave in the cemetery today and Astrid and Parsley came in for an hour.

Alan and Dave concentrated on the Came grave (N 14). The job today was to cement the large red granite kerbs and posts back in position. After an hour of levering and hammering with a lump hammer, protecting the stone with a piece of wood, the cement was oozing out of the joints. The excess cement removed. The grave set looked fine and we they were pleased with their efforts. It was decided to let the cement set and when next in to use cement and red sand to fill the gaps.

Rita and Astrid did the thankless task of weeding the graves and removing ivy from a tree. The boys had a little bit of cement over so decided to repair part of a large kerb that had been knocked loose by the mower on the Burt grave Sect 7/54.

Part of the Wildflower Meadow

With rain in the air and a threat of a heavy shower on its way it was time for us to make our way home.

Wednesday 4 July 2018

Just Alan & Rita in the cemetery today. Alan finishing off the Came grave with red cement to match the colour of the stone. Rita worked nearby clearing weeds from graves, she filled 2 large sacks but sadly not a lot of difference made! The weeds are growing quicker than we can pull them out. Had a shower of rain, as forecast, but after 10 minutes when Alan had started on the Southwood grave (Plan 14 no.16) the heavens opened and having started had to make good, so both rather wet by the time they left for home.

Sunday 8 July 2018

Sunny Sunday and Alan, Rita, Andy, Astrid and Dave in the cemetery today. The cemetery had a fair bit of moisture on the ground today, as we all worked up quite a sweat!

Astrid and Rita were working under the holly trees in the main pathway cutting back the holly and elder saplings, plus weeding the graves on the other side of the path, filling a dumpy bag. Andy worked hard cleaning the Ricks memorial ready for Friday so the writing could be clearly seen with a little bit more to be cleaned around the cross.

Alan and Dave worked on the Southwood grave which had been hit by the mower that Alan started on Wednesday. The pad-stones had sunk and needed to be packed to ensure the kerbs and posts would sit level, this done they were then all cemented back in position. Next job is to put in membrane and add stone chipping. This is a family grave with a war commission memorial for Corp. S. J. Southwood who died in 1919. Stanley James Southwood was buried with his sisters Florence and Lily. An additional inscription was found for his married sister Florence Burt.

To save time on our next visit on Wednesday, Alan & Rita decided to finish off Andy's work on the Cyril Ricks grave and clean the cross before they left for home.

Wednesday 11 July

Alan, Astrid with Parsley and Andy working today. Weather still very warm. The first task today was to finish off the Southwood grave (Plan 14 No. 16) membrane fitted and stone chipping added, a tidy up around the grave and job finished, what an improvement important as this the first grave seen as you enter the cemetery from the Halesleigh Road entrance.

They then moved on to the Ricks G44 grave to give the area around the memorial a final tidy ready for the commemorative ceremony on Friday. Raking up the grass that was now hay, Andy had the idea that it would be a good idea if a pathway was formed with the hay to show people attending on Friday a safe way to the Ricks grave site.

Astrid had to make her way home as Parsley was beginning to struggle with the heat.

Alan and Andy had a note from Rita asking if they could look at the Jones G3 grave as she felt there was another person buried here in addition to Mr and Mrs Elizabeth & Frederick Jones. The headstone was broken and laid on the ground, the bottom third still attached to the base stone and was face down, it was decided they would turn it over, it was discovered that there were not one but two additional persons buried here, Gwen Jones grand-daughter aged 4 years buried 1907 and Susan Jones daughter buried 1943, the pieces where lined up and given a scrub, nice to be able to read all the names on the headstone. Andy took photo’s of the work carried out today they then made their way home pleased with their efforts.

Sunday 8 July 2018

Sunday 22 July Another very hot day, joining Alan & Rita in the cemetery today was Andy. The boys decided to work on the Leigh C13 grave belonging to Frederick Leigh who was killed in action in France February 1917. The grave had subsided on one side the three tiers were at an angle, one end kerb missing the other broken in three pieces. One long kerb sound the other damaged and broken in two, the cross was laid flat on the concrete base.

It was decided the best thing that could be done was to level up the concrete base that covered the whole grave, this took some time but eventually the concrete was levelled up and supported with brick piers, the result making the three tiers level and looked a lot better. Whether we will be able to put the kerbs back, due to their condition will have to be decided at a later date. The area around the grave was backfilled with two wheelbarrows of earth and Andy took a photo of the result.

While the boys were working, Rita spent her time cutting down brambles and elder that was growing amongst the two yew trees at the top of section C, filling another dumpy bag. When they had finished their tasks they walked around the cemetery and took the inscription of the Newton grave to send over to the chairman for the website.

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