The Scottish War Graves Project Forum Index The Scottish War Graves Project
Part of the Scottish Military Research Group (Registered Scottish Charity No. SC043826). Please visit our homepage at
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 


Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Scottish War Graves Project Forum Index -> Queries and Requests
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message

Joined: 24 Apr 2008
Posts: 1539

PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:05 pm    Post subject: Overgrown Reply with quote

I was dismayed to discover the state of the Old Cemetery at Aignish, Lewis, yesterday (August 17th). I contacted the local councillor, and office bearer in Urras Eaglais na h-Aoidhe, about the issue, stating the following:

I visited the cemeteries at Eye this afternoon, for the purpose of photographing wargraves. I was disappointed with the state of the old cemetery (by the church), particularly as a man with a mower was busy keeping the new one in order.

I would like to ask you if there is any way to put the Old Cemetery back in order, particularly in view of the many loose and broken slabs in the graveyard and the associated risk of a trip or fall that they pose. Moreover, it would be easier for people visiting graves of ancestors (or indeed the one wargrave) to locate the gravestone in question. And it looks so much better as well.

This was the reply I received

I understand your concern, but we (Urras Eaglais na h-Aoidhe) discontinued the practice of mowing and strimming the old cemetery, after taking advice, because of the damage being done to the gravestones during the grass cutting process. We are concentrating on the stabilising and restoration of the church at present, and then we will turn our attention to sympathetic restoration and maintainance of the cemetery. Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention.

I'd like to ask the opinion of the Forum on this matter.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website

Joined: 04 Oct 2007
Posts: 809
Location: Hawick

PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"damage being done to the gravestones during the grass cutting process"??
The council is responsible for the grass cutting so they should be more careful! What a poor excuse for the frankly shocking condition of the cemetery.
It reminds me of several overgrown cemeteries I've seen in England and some Scottish inner city cemeteries but for a small community this must be the worst example I've seen. Shocked
With the budget cuts I think we are all going to see cemetery maintainence being cut back (unlike the grass!).
There must be a place under the sun where hearts of Olden Glory grow young .....
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 02 Oct 2007
Posts: 1789
Location: St John's Town of Dalry

PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw a TV program some time ago where an old English cemetery was being turned into a wildlife meadow. Briars, saplings and brambles were rooted out but apart from that nature was allowed to take its course. A simple path was cut through and I cannot remember if the gravestones were cleared or not but it all looked very nice once you got used to the unfamiliarity of it. I have also seen (again in England) where the only treatment given was a grazing by sheep in around July or August (after wild flowers have set seed). If they graveyards are actively managed in this way to provide a reasonable low cost alternative, I personally think this is OK for graveyards which closed in the 19th century but have greater reservations for those in more recent use.

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Adam Brown

Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 722
Location: Edinburgh

PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This post is not directly related to the neglect of cemeteries as discussed above but it has been widely reported in the media that in Edinburgh a new scheme is being introduced that will see some offenders doing their community service re-erecting gravestones in council run cemeteries.

In many cases the council themselves were the vandals who toppled the stones but I'll let that one pass for now since they are trying to put things right (quite literally) Kenny MacAskill was on hand so although the news has been widely published I'll quote the Scottish Government's own website:

Fallen gravestones set for repair

A new pilot project, which will see teams of low level offenders on community service being sent out to fix fallen cemetery headstones, was launched in Edinburgh today.

Under the initiative, gravestones will be repaired and fallen headstones will be returned to their original upright positions in a major clean-up operation by offenders who are being sent out to repay their debt to the community.

The pilot project will take place at Liberton Cemetery and is being organised by the City of Edinburgh Council's Bereavement and Public Health Service and Criminal Justice Social Work Service.

Paying tribute to the project, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said:

"Cemeteries should be a place of quiet reflection, a place to pay your respects and to remember loved ones lost.

"Unfortunately, the scene at many cemeteries in Edinburgh, and more widely across Scotland, is one of fallen and broken headstones. That is unacceptable, it's a bugbear of many communities up and down the country, and this project will see action being taken to rectify it.

"The council and church workers do their best, but finding the resources and labour required to carry out these repairs is often a real struggle for many.

"We want to get these offenders out doing some hard work, carrying out tough manual labour to repay their dues to the community they've harmed, whilst delivering improvements which the community will benefit from.

"This is exactly the kind of initiative we want to see more of. City of Edinburgh Council are to be congratulated, but this is a common problem for many communities across Scotland and I'm sure other local authorities may look at this and want to follow suit. These teams of community service workers can be utilised in many ways by Scotland's councils, and could also be used to clean graffiti from headstones or clear overgrown vegetation for example.

"We've seen low level offenders out clearing paths of snow and ice during last year's bad weather, we've seen them out renovating elderly care homes and we've seen them helping to clean up streets of litter. We'll now see them being put to more good use, bringing our cemeteries back to the standard people expect and this is a worthwhile project.

"The statistics are clear and show that short term prison sentences do not work for low level offenders. Three quarters of those given a short term prison term go on to reoffend within two years of getting out, whereas three out of five given a community based sentence do not. Community based sentences are proven to work, they actually stop offenders committing crime again in the future and we're increasingly seeing the benefits to be gained for the community by getting these offenders out doing some hard work rather than sitting for a couple of weeks in a prison cell."

Councillor Paul Edie, Community Safety Leader at the City of Edinburgh Council, said:

"Our team have been working hard to develop this exciting and important scheme within the local community, and they should be applauded. There are a number of gravestones in need of repair and this is a fantastic initiative to get low level offenders out to work, improving their skills whilst helping to improve the local community. Not only will this project make a real difference to the burial ground but the offenders will also be paying back the local community in a positive and constructive way."

Alan McKinney, a local resident, said:

"I am delighted that the City of Edinburgh Council has taken up this idea and its officials are to be congratulated for their constructive development of the initial proposal. I now sincerely hope that other Scottish councils will seriously examine the proposal which I circulated to all councils in 2009."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Scottish War Graves Project Forum Index -> Queries and Requests All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group. Hosted by