Horwich: New Friends of Ridgmont Cemetery group created to improve dilapidated grave site
COMMUNITY spirit in Horwich has been strengthened with the newly formed Friends of Ridgmont Cemetery.
The volunteers, rallied after a plea by local councillor Kevin McKeon for people to come forward and help maintain the cemetery in the light of council cuts, met on Saturday to start “work”.
He launched the appeal for volunteers to help look after Ridgmont Cemetery after letters complaining about its upkeep were published on The Bolton News.
The Friends of Ridgmont Cemetery will now work alongside council staff to do jobs such as clearing cut grass and weeding.
Cllr McKeon joined 10 volunteers, including local MP Julie Hilling, to embark on their first official clean-up session. He said: “There has been a massive reduction in the number of people looking after parks and cemeteries.
“In 1989 there was I think 360 people looking after the parks and cemeteries and now there are 60.
“Given the size of the cemetery, the standard expected cannot always be met.
“The basics can be done, and the Friends of Ridgmont can help by cleaning up cut grass from the graves and weeding, which those who look after the parks and cemeteries do not have time to do. Since launching the appeal the pupils of Lever Park Special School have also offered to help keep the cemetery looking neat and tidy.
Cllr McKeon said that Churches Together and the local rotary club was also interested in helping the newly formed group.
He added: “I am very pleased with the number of volunteers, but as always we would like more.”
The impact of the Friends of Ridgmont goes beyond keeping the cemetery neat and tidy.
Cllr McKeon said: “It draws people together and new contacts and friends can be made.
“The group also highlight to other members of the community that positive community spirit and helps to overcome the cynicism which exists in today’s world.”
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