Hello my name is Ros. I would like to share with you a little bit about the history of the Syston Cemetery, Barkby Road, Syston, all was going well until about four years ago when Paul, the cemetery gardener, was taken ill. The cemetery started to go downhill rather quickly. Myself and a friend (Liz) were beside ourselves and we badgered the town council until we got a fantastic, loving and compassionate cemetery keeper, called Andy, to look after and care for our loved ones and the cemetery. We helped him all we could.
We liaised with the town council with our wishes to help Andy and restore the cemetery and chapel. The Friends of Syston Cemetery (FSC) was set up. We were given a budget and we painted the front railings and gates of the cemetery which had not been done in many years. A small group of friends and family painted the railings in black Hammerite with gold tips. My friend’s husband made the wooden storage box that is in the waiting room, the chapel open sign and a wooden cover to protect the tap. We also got some hanging baskets and re-purposed the old fountain into use as a flower garden.
In the second year we started to remove all the junk and equipment from the waiting room area, the vestry and the chapel. This was a marathon task. We eventually managed to get rid of the mounds of soil and rubbish on the edge of the cemetery. I made a few window decorations to go into the chapel to brighten it up.
At this point my friend had to leave the group for family reasons. This left myself, my husband Dave, and the town council manager Catherine.
During the third year, 2020, we continued our monthly meetings via zoom during the pandemic, but the lockdowns meant not a lot could be done so with a budget allocated to us we started sorting out the two heather beds that had been damaged by frost and weedkiller. They were also full of weeds, so the heather was removed, and it was replaced with pebbles. Since this has been done we have received such comments as “Oh thank you we can now get to our loved one memorials” or “we can see the flowers and tributes”. I started to decorate the chapel with displays, it started off with an autumn display for the Harvest Festival last year. Next came Remembrance Day and I decorated the chapel with poppies and other Remembrance Day items. The Christmas display, was done in both the waiting room and the chapel.
Since Christmas I have been extremely busy with different displays in the chapel. Valentine’s Day – the passing of Captain Sir Tom Moore – St David’s day – Mother’s Day – St Patrick’s day – Easter – and sadly the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh on 9th April, see picture below right.
Now the plan is to continue with St George’s Day, Captain Sir Tom Moore’s hundred challenge, spring, summer and so the cycle is complete but we are including St Andrew’s Day this year. The carpet in the chapel has been removed, because it was in poor condition, revealing the beautiful, tiled floor that had been hidden for so long. The budget this year will allow us to paint the Chapel and Vestry. I feel it has been a real honour and privilege to be able to decorate the chapel in this way and help Andy to continue to care for our loved ones. The on-going work includes looking after the graves that have no one to visit them, help Andy weed and remove dead flowers, broken pots and dead wreaths.
We meet quarterly with Catherine and plan how the budget will be spent for the year. We are a little group who help to look after your loved ones, I do the chapel displays. I absolutely love doing this and feel it’s an honour for everybody’s friends and family in the cemetery.
The chapel is available to hire now for services and to do this you need to contact the town council. by R. Hackett