Here are all the news items for 2016.
Today, our first National Citizen Service (NCS) group of this year concluded their social action project in the cemetery. They have transformed an unloved area of shrubs and bare earth into a lovely garden. We are very grateful to the youngsters who volunteered to do this work. We should also like to thank Stonecrop Nurseries for donating so many plants. The attached photos show the area before and after the work, along with some of the NCS youngsters who carried it out.
On Monday afternoon Friends committee member, Richard Bell, received a phone call from BBC Radio Sheffield. They had heard about our forthcoming ‘Untimely Ends’ Guided Walk and they wished to record an interview about it, at the cemetery. As a result, Richard met BBC Radio Sheffield reporter Andy Kershaw on site yesterday morning. They walked around the cemetery, talking about its history and about this Sunday’s walk. The interview was broadcast just after 12:30pm yesterday. You can listen again by going to this BBC iPlayer link and moving the cursor along to about 2hr 35min.
It is a sad fact that, occasionally, some of the work that has been undertaken by our volunteers suffers damage at the hands of vandals. We recently had one such case, where the sign for the wildlife area in Section C was damaged beyond repair. Someone had taken a very heavy, quite sharp object to the sign and bent, buckled and torn it from its frame.
Fortunately, this was one sign where we had a spare information panel. Consequently, we have been able to replace the panel today, just two days after discovering the damage. Two of the photographs show the damaged sign, the third shows the empty frame and the fourth shows the new replacement panel in place.
As noted in our News post last month, we are again hosting two groups of young people who are on the National Citizen Service scheme. Our first group began their ‘social action’ week today. We have set the groups a task of converting one of the unloved planted areas into a colourful, attractive and well-kept garden. The photograph shows the group beginning to clear the weeds and dead plants from the area in question.
Last night’s Bat Walk at the cemetery attracted about two dozen people, including several children, and the bats put on a wonderful show! Almost immediately after the walk began, Common Pipistrelle bats were seen and detected, using the special bat detectors brought along by South Yorkshire Bat Group. There detectors picked up evidence of what may be another bat species, too, but that needs to be checked out by walk leader and SYBG member Robert Bell. We shall let you know if it proves to be a species not previously detected at Hyde Park Cemetery.
Thank you to everyone who came along and especially to Robert for providing the expertise and the detection equipment.
Westmoreland Group, working as main contractor for Doncaster Council, has been rebuilding the damaged boundary wall at the western (New Street) end of the cemetery since earlier this year. Most of the heavy work has now been finished, although a good deal of pointing remains to be done. Expert stonemason, Peter Moore, has taken down and rebuilt all the damaged and unstable sections of wall, bringing it back to the condition that it would have been in soon after the cemetery extension was opened, in 1882.
Using donated money from several sources, including a substantial amount from a local couple who wish to remain anonymous, the Friends will be arranging for new railings to installed on top of the wall in the near future.
These photographs show one section of the wall before repairs began and now, as the same section nears completion.
The National Citizen Service (NCS) scheme provides opportunities for 15 to 17-year-olds to embark on exhilarating challenges and build skills for work and life in general. For the past two summers, groups of NCS youngsters have undertaken projects at Hyde Park Cemetery. Last year one of the groups created a lovely garden area alongside the main entrance, from what had been an unloved patch of earth. See the before and after photos below.
Earlier this week the Friends met with staff from Club Doncaster Foundation, who manage the NCS scheme in this area. Agreement was reached on a project for two groups to complete during their social action weeks next month. Please watch out for future posts on this subject.
The ongoing work by Doncaster Council’s contractor to take down and rebuild the damaged western boundary wall is entering its final few weeks. Down near the southern end of New Street is one of the sections of wall that had been severely displaced by tree roots growing hard up against it. The photo on the left, below, shows the displaced wall partially dismantled, with the tree root pushing it outwards. The other photos show the wall having been fully dismantled and tree root having been jet-washed, prior to chain-sawing it out. The root has now been removed and work has started on rebuilding this section of wall.
The monumental inscriptions on the graves at Hyde Park Cemetery include over a dozen commemorating men who fought and died in the Battle of the Somme one hundred years ago. It may come as a surprise, however, that only one such inscription makes an explicit reference to the Somme. It is on a Johnson family grave in Section L. As well as recording the names of several family members who are buried in the grave, it also commemorates Corporal H.F.Johnson of the York & Lancaster Regiment, who died on the first day of the battle, 1st July 1916. Corporal Johnson is laid to rest with many of his comrades in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery at Authuille, just north of Albert, on the Somme. Corporal Johnson was the son of Thomas and Sarah Jane Johnson, of Doncaster and husband of Alice Peake (formerly Johnson), of 39, Rowan St., Leicester.
The incessant rain this morning failed to dampen the spirits of several ‘hard-core’ FoHPC supporters, as they went about their tasks during this month’s volunteers’ Working Morning. A thorough litter-pick, plus removing sucker growth from the base of a particularly vigorous holly tree were just two of the activities carried out.
Perhaps surprisingly, the vast majority of these monthly sessions, since they began over six years ago, have been dry, so please don’t be put off if you fancy lending a hand. We’d love to welcome new volunteers to our hardy bunch.