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Dying for someone to take care of cemetery; PLEA FOR LANDOWNERS TO CLEAN UP OVERGROWN GRAVEYARD.


IS THIS the most unloved cemetery in the UK?

Grass envelops the headstones of loved ones in Lynemouth Cemetery in Northumberland.

Mourners who want to visit family graves have to walk or drive down a dirt track to reach the double gates of the village cemetery, which is a stone's throw away from the noisy Alcan plant.

There are no direction signs to the cemetery and no sign at all inside it to say who is responsible for it.

A huge mound of earth has been piled up and left standing at one side. Villagers are angry about the state of it and calling for something to be done.

Margaret Spratt, 40, of Sea View, Lynemouth, said: "It is an absolute disgrace.

"My dad died three years ago and it's hard going up to visit the grave. My mam will not go up. My sister burst into tears because of the state of it."

Her husband Philip said: "In 1993 we started a cemetery committee up with local parish councillors and we looked after it for eight or nine years.

"Hedging companies donated hedging and we had the equipment to look after it. It won awards, but then it got passed on to different people and just went downhill.

"I believe the local parish council hold the deeds to the cemetery and the local vicar has said the grass is going to be cut in the next few weeks."

Another resident, John Linsley, 65, ex-steward of Lynemouth Miners' Welfare Institute, said: "It's a disgrace. It is in a terrible state.

"I'm going to see the secretary of the institute and see if maybe a raffle can be organised so a donation can be put in. It should be kept right."

The cemetery, which was once the setting for a scene in Billy Elliot, is run by a trust made up of the vicar of Lynemouth's St Aidan's Church, the Rev Alan Simpson, and his church warden.

The Rev Simpson said: "We've had a problem because the grass cutters just suddenly stopped around two months ago.

"Since then we've got a new grass cutting contract and Castle Morpeth Borough Council's green and clean team are contracted to do the work there."

The Rev Simpson said the cemetery had to be run on a shoestring out of limited church funds and was a unique burial ground.

In the early 1920s, when it was created, there were plans to extend Lynemouth Village and have a church next to the cemetery, but then came the General Strike of 1926 and it never happened.

Alcan owned land in the area but a trust was set up to look after the cemetery, which dwindled away and was then resurrected. Efforts to have it taken over by the local council have so far been unsuccessful.

Castle Morpeth Borough Council's green and clean manager Andy Rutherford said: "The graveyard in question is rather unique in the borough as it is not the responsibility of the council but is run by a trust in Lynemouth, which has been having some difficulty in keeping up with maintenance.

"Green and clean staff and Coun Milburn Douglas were invited to meet with trust representatives last week and have agreed a contracted programme of work which will restore the graveyard to an acceptable standard and an ongoing maintenance programme has been agreed until the end of the year.

"The council is happy to have been able to assist the trust in this way and work will begin on the cemetery this week."

"My dad just died three years ago and it's hard going up to visit the grave. My mam won't go up


SUCH A SHAME: Margaret and Philip Spratt with their son Connor. They want the cemetery grounds cleaned up; SHOESTRING BUDGET: Grass growing over one of the headstones
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 22, 2008
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