Friends of the Wembdon Road Cemetery
Bridgwater, Somerset
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2019 Diary: May

Sunday 5 May 2019

A cold start to the day but turning out to be a lovely sunny day. Alan, Rita and Dave working in the cemetery today and their first job was to gently clean the algae off the Helps grave with water and a soft brush so now looking nice and clean and the writing easy to read.

Several visitors came in today, the first was a lady looking for relatives, so we took all the information she could give, on returning home Alan & Rita found they were buried in the cemetery but unable to give an exact location of where they were buried. She was notified of our findings; she was not sure if his wife was in the same grave so at least we could tell her she was.

Next visitor was John, one of the Friends retired workers, so Rita gave him a tour of what we had been doing since he last came in for a chat. They left Alan and Dave washing the stones from the Smith grave B80 and then laying them back inside the grave, what a difference it made.

Their next job for Alan & Dave was to get another barrow of earth to put inside the Phillips grave, plus dig up the few weeds that have sprung up in the last couple of days. Now raked down ready for membrane and stone chippings. Rita making her way to the bluebell area to give it a tidy up. She didn't get far as she had a little chat to one of the local dog walkers, then noticed a lady looking around the area for a grave. She had been in contact with our Chairman who notified us she may be in looking for her grandmothers' grave. Although there was no headstone, we did show her the area where we thought it was. When pointed out she was happy as it was where she thought. After all this talking it was tea break time, then back to work. Alan & Dave came up to the bluebell area where there were a lot of small stones which they picked up and took down to the Laver grave to infill in the centre and then put earth around the outside of the new landing. Dave left for lunch and Alan came up to see how Rita was getting on and kindly dug out a large patch of stinging nettles and large weeds for her, another dumpy bag filled. Gathered up the tools, took a photo of the Helps grave as Andy unavailable today and made their way home.

Wednesday 8 May 2019

Alan, Andy and Dave in the cemetery today. Grass had been cut and the water tap, which had sprung a leak had been replaced and looking very smart having had a make-over, thank you SDC. The boys made several journeys to Cannington Quarry to collect 32 bags of stone chippings. Black membrane was put in the Phillips grave followed by 10 bags of stone chipping. They then moved over to the Laver grave and put 5 bags of stone chipping inside this grave. Andy taking photos.


Laver, back and front

Two ladies came into the cemetery to put flowers on their grandfather and great grandfathers grave which they had discovered were buried in the cemetery, and having looked on our website they knew where to find them. Andy took a photo of them by the grave. Bowerman B12.

As there were not enough bags at the quarry they had to make an additional trip to collect the remainder after 1.30p.m. so they decided while they were waiting they would start on the Culliford grave C 17. The laid down headstone had sunk one side so it was decided to straighten and lift slightly at the top end so that all the inscription could be seen, right down to Ernest who died in 1965 aged 94. All that needs to be done is to build the earth up around it and give the stone a gentle clean. Work had to stop as it started to pour with rain sheltering under the trees until it stopped, they then went to pick up the remainder of the chipping and dropped it off in the cemetery before making their way home.

Sunday 12 May

Alan, Rita, Andy and Dave working and sweating on this beautiful morning. The boys worked on the Brice and Peace graves. The Peace B64 had been levelled previously so it was just a matter of laying down rock salt, then the black membrane and then a thin sprinkling of rock salt (an idea hoping to keep the grass weeds at bay) and finally 8 bags of stone chipping collected from the quarry on Wednesday. The Brice B 67 needed more work, it was over grown with weeds and grass that had to be dug out. Andy and Dave raked up 4 wheel barrows of earth near the Jam Factory wall and these were tipped into the grave and levelled, rock salt was spread across the surface of the ground. The membrane was added and 9 bags of stone chipping to finish the job. Both complete graves now look really splendid and have transformed the area.

The Brice Memorial

The Peace Memorial

While the boys were working Rita went around the cemetery with a list of grave that some American visitors who will be visiting in a few weeks are hoping to see. Rita was checking to see what condition they were in and what work was needed. All in a reasonable state just a couple that need a bit of weeding to make them look nice. This job finished she planted another tray of wild flowers in the bluebell area and proceeded to cut down the grass in this area, careful not to chop of the bluebells. Still more to do but with only a pair of grass shears it takes a while!

The boys after our tea break went up to the Culliford grave started Wednesday, the ground around the grave had sunk, it was decided to cut some turf to build it up, this was done and it has improved the appearance of the grave. Dave gave the headstone a clean with water and a brush the lettering can now be clearly read. To finish off a very productive day Andy took a number of photos of the finished graves and of work in progress.

Wednesday 22 May

Alan & Rita in the cemetery today on a lovely sunny day. They got distracted on their way in and before they knew it, they had worked for an hour and a half weeding the graves at the front of the cemetery, at least it was mostly in the shade! They then moved on to where they intended to work, Alan to dig out the stinging nettles and grass encroaching on the laid down headstones alongside the hedge we planted two years ago. Rita up in the bluebell area cutting the grass - this area was cordoned off as we didn't want the bluebells to be cut down by the mower. The wild flowers planted a few weeks ago seem to be growing quite nicely. After an hour of hard work they decided they needed a break, so packed the tools away and walked around the cemetery looking at the graves that will be visited by Robert Butler and his American cousins in June. Most of the graves are in reasonable condition, just a small amount of tidying required. This completed it was time to go home.

Sunday 26 May

Alan, Andy, Dave and Rita were hard at work in the cemetery today. The boys started on levelling the Gilbert G 107 and Burgess G 106 graves which had sunk towards each other. It didn't take them too long to level the Gilbert grave but the Burgess grave took quite a long time to sort out, in fact the rest of the morning. They took off the kerbs of both graves levelled the bases, cleaned off the old cement on the kerbs and laid them back into position. They are now both ready to be cemented back into place. Several barrows of earth were placed around both graves to tidy them up.

Meanwhile Rita planted another tray of wild flowers in front of the Culliford grave where there was no grass, gave them a water then watered the wild flower plants up in the bluebell area.

She then started to weed the Loosemore F4 and Parsons F5, the Parsons was all but finished but the boys needed the small spade (they gave her the large spade which she could hardly lift) so that was the end of that job. Another work day over, and they all headed home for lunch.

Wednesday 29 May

Alan, Dave and Andy in the cemetery today. The job planned for today was to cement the kerbs and posts back into position on the Gilbert G 107 and Burgess G 106 graves. Due to overcast weather with intermittent rain it was decided to sort out the concrete centre of the Burgess grave that had broken in several pieces. They were put back in place and a mix of concrete was filled where pieces were missing.

They then decided to continue clearing the stinging nettles and grass that had taken over the path of laid down headstones next to the hedge planted a couple of years ago - which is now growing nicely. Alan started this job last Wednesday, and after working for an hour with the mattock and spade and filling 1 1/2 dumpy bags, exhausted, the three decided it was time to go home.

Still a quarter of the row to be finished off then to cut back the new hedge so it doesn't encroach the laid down headstones.

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