I would like to reply on behalf of my husband (16 years a volunteer), his hard working team and myself to Miss Pike’s misplaced remarks regarding our work at Church Norton Graveyard.
We can assure relatives that our beautiful churchyard will be maintained to the best of our ability.
Fortunately, the many compliments we receive far out-weigh any complaints and people from far and wide tell us that churchyards in many parts of the country are totally neglected, often due to lack of finance to supply equipment and the inability to find younger volunteers.
Unfortunately, the old north aspect of the churchyard is very difficult to maintain due to crumbling gravestones and subsidence.
It is extremely uneven, making work difficult and dangerous. We are all retired volunteers and have to tread carefully within our limitations, as much as we would like to do more!
We also have rules and guidelines that we try to adhere to without giving offence. These rules are available for all to read from the undertakers and church to those who require the services of the churchyard.
Several years ago we experimented with allowing a section to become a meadow. It was not well received and we resumed to just keeping the grass as short as possible. This was a pity because the wild flowers would have assisted the butterflies and insects to increase their ever decreasing numbers.
We accept that there are few remaining relatives left to tend family graves, many of which are over 100 years old. We try to concentrate on the approaches, the newer area and drive to create an overall pleasing welcome for all to enjoy.
We are now grateful for having been supplied with some first class machines that speed up the job and free up our time to attend to problem areas that hither to we were unable to give time.
We welcome all comments, suggestions, complaints and otherwise and, in particular, we welcome enthusiastic volunteers to help make us the best kept churchyard in Sussex. Unfortunately it is ‘impossible to please all of the people all of the time’. This we accept as human failing.
We will continue to work to the best of our ability with the knowledge that so many people appreciate what we do.
We regret that Miss Pike has found us incompetent and cordially invite her to meet us on site any Wednesday morning.
We would be delighted to explain our function and exactly what we do – and why.