A CLEAN-up operation in a Horwich churchyard revealed graves and gravestones more than 150 years old.

Incredible photos taken by the Horwich Clean-up Brigade also show grave inscriptions perfectly imprinted onto grass which has covered them for decades.

The community group has been spending recent months helping to clean the graveyard at Holy Trinity Church.

Charlene Bessell, a group founder, said members had come to really love the community atmosphere: "The graveyard hasn’t been properly looked after for many years - the council do some cleaning and it is mowed but it is very difficult when there’s only a handful of people.

“During the initial lockdowns, a few of us started going down to clear the gravestones and we have been doing it at least once a month since.

“It is a lot of fun for people - they can bring their families down because it is not near a main road and people love the community feel of it. It has been well received.”

Charlene said the project had been a favourite, with many enjoying the ability to rediscover and remember people from years ago.

She said: “A woman had died after being drained for dropsy 20 times - there are some really sad stories when you look around. There are lots of young families buried there because they didn’t have the NHS back then or the healthcare we do now.

“You do start developing feelings towards these people in a weird way. They are four or five generations away and are forgotten, but we are finding them again.”

One of the more remarkable finds included a grave perfectly embedded into the grass - a photo that has been shared and praised on the group’s page.

Charlene said: “Because some of them have been left so long, the grass has grown completely over the grave so we get a tool and cut around the edge of it.

“We managed to life one of them up in one go and the grass had grown into the inscription and was perfectly copied onto it. It was really rare for that to happen and it looked great.”

For more information on the group, visit facebook.com/horwichcleanupbrigade