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

Thursday 3 May 2018

Rita and Alan back from their holiday decided to go to the cemetery and concentrate on the Murch/Renwick grave. The kerb which was removed was placed back in position and cemented in place. Andy arrived just as this was being completed. While Rita weeded and cleaned up the Bale, Rookley and Smith graves nearby, Alan and Andy slid the second stone tier back into position and cemented the top tier into place on the top. The stones were rubbed clean and looked lovely back in their original position. The earth previously dug out was placed back in the grave area and the ground levelled, we now need to make a decision if we intend to put membrane and chipping in the grave and place the cross which is broken in three pieces inside.

It will need at least 8 bags of chipping to do this. The Wells grave B70 next to the Murch/Renwick grave is very overgrown and needs to be tidied up to enhance the Murch grave.

Sunday 7 May 2018

A glorious day greeted the workers this morning, brilliant sunshine – far too hot for working, but work we did. Astrid brought in some wild flower plants which she planted near the bluebell patch, staking around the area to ensure the grass cutters don’t chop them down by mistake. The wild flower plants she planted were Teasel, Black Knapweed, Common Sorrel, Bladder Campion, Wild Carrot, and Yarrow.

Hopefully the grass will be cut soon as it has grown really high and the weeds are knee high. Rita having the misfortune to forget her working shoes and the grass still covered in dew, had to keep to the pathway but busied herself weeding graves at the front of the cemetery, far too many to mention. Alan who was first in started off by weeding and clearing the Wells grave B70 and did a good job.

When Andy and Dave arrived, they moved over to section M where a small tree stump was beginning to force the Spicer M64 headstone over so that it was in danger of toppling, also forcing kerb stones on the Sellick M63 and M64 out of position. It was decided some time ago that the tree stump had to go.

The first job was to move the headstone and kerbs to a safe position so that work could begin on getting the stump out, they soon found out that the small stump was a lot larger than first thought. Work began on digging out the roots, a task far harder than they anticipated and by dinner time they were disappointed as they had only managed to remove part of the stump. It was agreed as it was very hot the rest of the stump would be tackled another day. The area was tidied and made safe, the root and hole covered and the hot and sweaty workers made their way home.

Tuesday 8 May 2018

Rita and Alan decided to go in to the cemetery today to remove the Holly tree stump that was started on Sunday. It was a much cooler day, it was discovered that the stump had two tap roots

that had to be removed if the stump was to come out, so a hole had to be dug to expose them. Just as this was started Andy came in for a chat, once exposed it was an easy job to cut the roots off and the whole stump was pulled out. As Andy, Kev, Rita and Alan will be in on Thursday to put the Spicer M63 headstone back in place. Alan and Rita decided to level the pad stones of the Spicer head and kerbs and the pad stones for the graves on either side, this will save time when it comes to cementing the kerb stones back in position on Thursday.

Rita went over the road to discuss parking arrangements for when the Sedgemoor Conservationists come to help us in June.

Thursday 10 May 2018

Kev, Andy and Alan arrived in the cemetery to find the SDC grass cutting team had been in yesterday and today just finishing off cutting the grass. Unfortunately, due to the grass being left too long before cutting the sit on mower driver apologised that he was unable to see a lot of the memorials and had damaged a number.

The first task for the boys was the Spicer M 64 headstone, the pad stones had previously been levelled in position so the headstone was cemented back into place.

A new foundation base stone levelled in for the Cable M 79 headstone and this was cemented back into place.

The Sellick M 63 kerbstones were sunk and the post joints had come apart. The kerbs and posts were packed back level and cemented back into position. Rita who had been into town came in to see how they were getting on and made herself useful by tidying up and putting the tools away. A very productive work session, once the Kemmis M 65 kerbs and posts are levelled and cemented back into place it is planned that M 63, 64, and 65 will have membrane and stone chippings laid in which will improve the appearance.

Sunday 13 May 2018

A lovely sunny day in the cemetery today, workers were Astrid, Andy, Alan and Rita.

Alan and Rita went to Cannington Quarry on Friday to buy 24 bag of stone chipping ready to use today.

While Rita and Astrid were putting membrane and stone chipping in the Sellick M63 and the Spicer M64 graves, Alan and Andy were doing the same in the Murch/Renwick B71 a large double grave that had a large base tier that had sunk badly and two other tier blocks. The large tier block had been raised level and the two remaining tier blocks put back in place. With membrane and stone chipping placed in the grave the last task was to lay the 4-foot stone cross which is broken into three pieces back in the grave, that commemorates the death of William Renwick killed in WW1.

Back at Section M, Rita and Astrid were clearing the weeds from the Gratton Grave M97 before membrane and stone chipping added. Moving on to clear the Stiling grave M98 of weeds. Alan levelled and cemented back together the Kemmis grave M65 before membrane and stone chipping added. Andy was busy picking up the stone chipping from the front gate with the wheel barrow which was an exhausting task. The four were proud with their efforts and decided it was time to tidy-up and make their way home, not before Alan had taken a photo of the area that had been worked on for the work diary.

Alan took the old black membrane and weeds from the Gratton M 97 and Astrid & Rita cleared all the weeds, Alan put down new black membrane and laid 3 bags of stone chippings inside. What a difference this has made, this area is now looking very nice with another group of graves weeded, stone chipped and broken kerbs repaired.

Wednesday 15 May

Alan & Andy in the cemetery today. It was decided to concentrate on the Collard grave M 5, where the kerbs and concrete base had sunk badly. The first job was to remove the broken concrete slab, dig out the weeds, then level and pack up the kerbs and cement them back in position. A new front kerb was added to hold the kerbs together. The broken concrete slab put back in place and topped with 3 barrows of earth. All ready for black membrane. On looking at our records we discovered that the headstone next to the kerbs actually belonged to this grave where the kerbs have been put back in place. Next step is to see if we can either lay the headstone inside the grave or do we need to pack the centre of the grave to allow the headstone to sit level with the kerbs.

Sunday 21 May

Another hot sunny day with Andy, Alan, Astrid and Rita sweating in the cemetery today. The task today was to move the Collard headstone into the grave which was repaired on Wednesday. Careful not to disturb the kerbs the 'gang' managed to manoeuvre the headstone to inside the kerbs which black membrane had been laid and stone chippings placed along the top and sides. This was done very carefully and all went extremely well. The kerbs stayed intact and we finished off by adding more stone chipping to fill the grave. The headstone and kerbs were then given a scrub with brush and water and came up very nice.

Where the headstone had been resting on the plot belonging to John Bishop who died 1912 aged 88, it looked a bit lonely so we built up an earth mound which we will grass over and place a pot (one of three) which was stored in the Collard grave. Alan gave the small plaque of Elizabeth Coles a good scrub, this was photographed by Andy and placed in the M64 grave for safe keeping. Another productive morning.

Astrid planted the remainder of the wild flower plants she purchased.

Monday 22 May

Fine Memorial had informed the Friends that they would be in the cemetery today to work on several memorials that had been asked by the Friends to restore. Alan and Andy decided it would be helpful if they attended. The first memorial worked on was the Helps C11 a headstone badly damaged and broken in half. The headstone had been pinned back together at the workshop and also cemented together. It was not long before it was back in it's rightful place even if there is a small piece of the headstone missing. Alan filled six wheel barrows of earth and filled the area around the grave.

Helps being placed back into position by Fine Memorials

Next was the Major B62, the three stone tiers had to be removed to enable the workmen to make good the foundation stone which had sunk badly. The stone was packed level and the three tiers were cemented and pinned back in place with the cross also pinned and stood majestically on the top a most impressive sight. Alan finished off by adding three barrow loads of earth around the grave.

The Major cross being drilled before pinning

Their next job was to go over to the Perrett grave Plan 11/41. This large headstone was beginning to move and needed work to ensure it was safe. The headstone with its large base stone attached was removed and the foundation stone with its anchor bolt were dug out and re-positioned a further 6 inches deeper, this was to allow more earth around the base stone so that it was less likely that it would move in the future. Andy was busy taking photos around the cemetery and of the work that Fine Memorial were undertaking. Both Alan and Andy then came home, leaving Fine Memorial having their lunch, who planned to carry the Pursey/Short Plan 6/89 broken headstone on their track machine back to the workshop for repair.

Wednesday 24 May

Alan, Andy and Rita in the cemetery today, again the sun was beating down on us! Today the Reed L18 was worked on. Over a period of time the mower has damaged the kerbs to this grave badly, both long kerbs have been broken in two and the kerbs and headstone had been pushed in different directions.

It was decided that the first thing to do was to level and pack the landing which had sunk one side. With the kerbs in such poor condition it was decided to lay them flat on the landing and place the fallen headstone on the kerbs. This went smoothly, Alan filled the centre with two barrels of earth, laid down black membrane and added the one bag of stone chippings that we had in stock. 2 more bags of stone chipping will be required to finish off the job.

Due to vulnerable position this grave is situated, it is thought it would need some protection from the mower, it was felt that placing pots which had no bases should be put around the grave to give protection. Satisfied for their work this morning and feeling rather hot and sticky all made their way home.

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