MEMBERS of the Dodworth community have banded together to give a forgotten churchyard a much-needed makeover.

The clean-up has doubled up as a way to teach children about the history of the village, said enthusiastic ward councillors.

The churchyard behind St John’s Church has become overlooked in the past few years.

Home to two Commonwealth War Graves, locals decided that something needed to be done to turn it into a place where visitors can enjoy a peaceful walk.

Their plan is to turn fallen graves into benches, and install a wildlife garden to bring new life to the space.

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“At the moment it’s a bit overgrown and neglected,” said Dodworth councillor, Neil Wright.

“Locals realised the area needed some love, and reached out to the council for help transforming the space.

“At the moment, we aren’t too sure about how many graves there are in the churchyard because some of them are quite old and have fallen down so I think the plan is to clean up the graves and make the area into a peaceful garden.”

The volunteers hope to clean up the headstones and use the old sexton’s book found in West Yorkshire Archives to plot the original layout of the graves.

They also hope to collate information about what Dodworth was like in the past so that schoolchildren can learn about the history of the area.

“Some of the graves are from the 1840s and we will try and find out what life was like back then so that kids can have a glimpse into the past,” added Neil.

“We also want to make the area nice for the Commonwealth War Graves to help honour the local lads who died in the world wars.”