A COMMUNITY group has been recognised for the difference it’s made to Wombwell.

The Friends of Wombwell Cemetery have been nominated for the outstanding work they have undertaken over the last 14 years to transform Wombwell’s cemetery.

The team formed back in 2002 as a neighbourhood watch group after an 87-year-old woman was mugged when visiting her husband’s grave.

It was then that the Friends of Wombwell Cemetery decided to take action and took charge of the grounds. They began to transform the cemetery, from the way it operated and the way the grounds were taken care of.
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The group quickly established themselves as a community gem and have since replaced the railings, created memorials for 690 babies, resurfaced pathways, converted the old mortuary into an office, maintained graves, war graves and memorials and transformed the site of one of the cemetery’s chapels into a peace garden.

Chariman of the Friends of Wombwell Cemetery, Mike Bretton, said: “The community have really taken us to their hearts - I think they really appreciate the work we do, it’s vital that we do it for Wombwell.

“We’re not looking for honours but it really does mean a lot to be nominated and shows that we are respected.”

The group was also honoured in 2006 when it received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The latest and biggest project to date involved creating a community hub within the cemetery by refurbishing the second chapel, which was created with £150,000 of investment from Barnsley Council, Heritage Lottery Fund, grant giving body WREN and fundraising by the Friends of Wombwell Cemetery team.

This was opened in June this year and has received lots of praise from residents across Wombwell.

Mike said: “We thought we had done everything we could in the cemetery, apart from restore the chapel. So we took on the project and started raising funds.

“With our drive and the money we managed to raise from fundraising and bodies like HLF we arrived at the point we are now, with a community hub - somewhere that can be used by the community at large for everything and anything within reason.

“It gives us great pride to see what difference we have made.”

The group meets at Wombwell Cemetery every Wednesday between 10am and 12.30pm - and is always looking for more people to come and join the ranks, even if it’s just for a cup of tea and a chat.

Read more in this weeks Barnsley Chronicle