Chesterfield woman appeals for help to tidy graveyard where twin sister is buried

A Chesterfield woman is calling on residents and businesses to help her clean-up the churchyard where her twin sister is buried – after complaints about the area becoming overgrown and unsightly.
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Samantha Walker is working with St John’s church, in Newbold, to launch a clean up day on August 13 and is calling on others to take part.

Following her visit to the churchyard and after hearing many complaints about its terrible state, Samantha, 33, of Newbold decided to organise the clean-up.

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She said: “The dead can't speak for themselves so it's up to the living to make sure the graveyard is a beautiful place. I want to encourage everyone who can, to come along. You can help with litter pick, trimming the bushes, maintenance of the trees, making tea or coffee for volunteers, every extra person counts.”

Samantha Walker, who organised the clean-upSamantha Walker, who organised the clean-up
Samantha Walker, who organised the clean-up

Samantha’s twin sister, Stephanie, died when she was just eight days old due to the complications of pre-mature birth is buried in the child’s corner of the graveyard.

Samantha said: “The churchyard is even in the worse state at the back, where the child’s corner is.”

Following complaints by residents after an article by the Derbyshire Times, the council promised to help tidy up the churchyard which has been left in a terrible state following the pandemics.

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However, when Samantha visited it on Friday, she found that the bushes are still overgrown, the bins are overflowing, and the rubbish and the dog faeces are scattered around.

Grave of Stephanie, Samantha's twin sisterGrave of Stephanie, Samantha's twin sister
Grave of Stephanie, Samantha's twin sister

She contacted the council and they informed her the maintenance team had mowed the grass following complaints and that individuals are responsible for cleaning up the graves. Samantha then got in touch with the church to set up a clean-up day.

She has also started a Facebook Group and launched a Go Fund Me page.

She said: “The church cannot afford to have an outside tap fitted. I set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money to get a water supply fitted and get a few benches along the walkway. If any business would be interested to fund a bench, we could place a badge with their name on it”.

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Derbyshire Times Facebook friend Ann Howard said: “I went to visit my parents’ grave last week and had to cut long weeds round the grave. Bushes overgrown and piles of rubbish’s was a disgrace. So upsetting.”

The St John's graveyard (image by Samantha Walker)The St John's graveyard (image by Samantha Walker)
The St John's graveyard (image by Samantha Walker)

Claire Musson added: “Three council work men there today but only cut the grass at both entrances where you can see it from the road. It will take a mountain of council workers to clear the current weeds, brambles, tree logs, rubbish and make the footpaths safe. Absolutely furious is an understatement. Covid is always to blame but other churchyards in the borough are very well maintained so why is our churchyard an exception?”

Any companies interested in helping with the clean-up, providing gardening support, or funding a bench, watering can, or a tap, can get in touch via Facebook Group or by contacting the church.