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Signs of progress ...
 
Work has at last commenced on weatherproofing and urgent stabilisation of the chapels. 
 
The old cast iron guttering, which was damaged many years ago and has caused heavy water and damp damage to the chapels has now been removed and will be replaced.
 
Work to rebuild and stabilise the rear gable wall of the east chapel will commence shortly.
 
 
 
Spring Open Day
 
copyright image (c) 2016
Thanks to all who attended our Spring Open Day on 2nd April.
 
The sun shone and Chairman David was able to announce that the Council have now signed a contract with the company who will be carrying out the vital repairs to the eastern chapel's gable end and urgent waterproofing work to the western chapel which will hopefully lead to replastering when the badly damp damaged walls have dried out.
 
Many thanks to members of Trowell Ladies Choir for their musical accompaniment and to the usual suspects for the excellent home-made cakes.
 
 
 
 
New cemetery monuments archive available to the public
 
After a very great deal of work, Derbyshire Ancestral Research Group have completed their survey of all monumental inscriptions in the cemetery. We have purchased a copy and so can now offer a search service to anyone who wishes to check the existence and location of a grave in the cemetery and to look up the wording of the inscription.
 
At last we are able to help with all those queries on open days! We are not able to give copies for copyright reasons, but will be happy to transcribe individual details on payment of a donation. Please come to one of our Open Days or contact the Secretary on mail@friendsofparkcemetery.org.uk for details.
 
Unfortunately this will not help those whose relatives do not have a grave marker, but it is a substantial start. The full grave records remain with Bramcote Crematorium.
 
 
 
Something just might be happening ...
 
The Friends understand that work should commence shortly on emergency weatherproofing and structural work to the chapels. This work will be paid for by Erewash Borough Council, as owner. We warmly welcome this action, which can't come soon enough as soon as we are concerned.
 
We shall keep you posted ...
 
 
 
COPYRIGHT IMAGECake and Carols - 12th December
 
A surprising number of supporters turned out for our fourth annual 'Cake and Carols' event despite some really foul weather.
 
Trowell Ladies' Choir provided some uplifting choral music, both carols and other songs with a festive theme. We are especially grateful to them for stepping in to fill the breach at the last moment.
 
Many thanks to all those who helped, in particular the Friends 'Catering Department' for the usual excellent home made cakes and refreshments.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
COPYRIGHT IMAGE (c) 2015New cemetery booklet launched
 
Our new guide to the cemetery was launched at the Autumn Open Day on 26th September.
 
A beautiful late September afternoon saw many members and friends congratulate Friends' Secretary Beverley Kilby on her booklet, which is available at only £1 and contains a brief history of the cemetery together with details of some of the interesting people buried here and a guide to the symbolism of memorials.
 
Friends' Chairman David Hudson congratulated Beverley on her hard work and many copies were sold to visitors on the day. The booklet, printed by Moorley's of Ilkeston will be available from all future Friends events.
 
 
 
 
A.G.M. News
 
The Annual General Meeting was held in the Chapel on 11th April. Acting Chairman David Hudson was confirmed as Chairman for the next year and Secretary Beverley Kilby and Treasurer Christine Hudson were also re-elected. Sally Bestwick was elected as the Friends' Vice-Chair, a new post. All the officers and former Chairman Paul Miller were thanked by members for their work over the last year. The Committee was re-elected with the exception of Dr Ann Featherstone, who stood down due to other commitments and was thanked by the Chairman for all her work over the last few years. The meeting agreed that subscriptions will remain at £5 for 2016.
 
COPYRIGHT IMAGEInterpretation Board unveiled at the 'Daffodil Tea'
 
The Friends held our Spring Open Day ‘Daffodil Tea’ at the Cemetery Chapels on 21st March at which we unveiled a new Interpretation Board at the Park Avenue gates as well as serving hot drinks and home made cakes to visitors.

The Interpretation Board has been designed and paid for by the Friends and was installed by Erewash Borough Council who own and manage the site. It features photographs and information on some of the interesting residents of the cemetery and the history of the site.

Friends’ Chairman David Hudson said he was delighted to officially unveil the Board, intended to be the first of several provided using money we have raised from donations by local people. The ceremony was followed by a guided tour of the site by members Beverley Kilby and Grant Shaw, concentrating on the stories of some of those buried in the cemetery with particular emphasis on World War I casualties and on the Friends’ plans for new planting on site.

 
Cake and Carols
 
A small but talented group of children from Hallam Fields Junior School Choir gave an excellent concert which made this festive event something special. Danny Corns gave a reading on the subject of 'The Christmas Truce of 1914' and the Chapel was fully decorated for Christmas. Over forty people attended and many thanks as usual to all those from the Friends who helped with the organisation and with hot drinks and home made cakes in the Chapel.
Thanks also to Erewash Borough Council for providing a tree.
 
 
COPYRIGHT IMAGE (C) 2014 Grant ShawChairman Paul steps down
 
The Friends' founding Chairman Paul Miller stepped down from the post as of November 1st.
 
Paul has been instrumental in everything the Friends have done and has given much time and sweat behind the scenes over the last three years. We are sorry to see him go and thank him sincerely for all he has done.
 
David Hudson has been elected as acting Chairman until the AGM.
 
 
Good weather at June Open DayCOPYRIGHT IMAGE
 
The Open Day on 21st June attracted many visitors, with the refreshment stand doing well and Beverley Kilby leading an interesting walk around the cemetery.
 
It also marked the unveiling of the recently renovated 'altar' table, now professionally shorn of its horrible thick black varnish and oiled to reveal the excellent wood beneath.
 
A good day was had by all.
 
 
An enjoyable 'daffodil day'
 
COPYRIGHT IMAGEMembers and friends enjoyed this year's 'Daffodil Day' on 29th March.
 
The weather was glorious, meaning that both doors to the chapel could be opened to let some much needed air in and marking a great contrast with last year when the event was almost called off because of snow.
 
Thanks as always to all those who helped, particularly with the catering.
 
 
2014 Projects decided upon
 
After a good year's fundraising, the committee have decided to immediately commission the renovation of the substantial oak table which sometimes served as an 'altar' but is currently suffering under layers of thick brown varnish. It is believed this is an original feature of the Chapel and will be very useful.
 
We will also be carrying out a follow-up to last year's survey of the condition of the Cemetery and submitting this to the Council. There are still many areas of concern, and we shall be creating another photographic record of areas needing attention.
 
Sufficient funds have now been raised for us to progress some interpretation boards and a small group of members is looking into this with a view to producing an orientation board and also a board showing the location of the Cemetery's many War Dead to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.
 
For the dates of this year's Open Days and other events click on the 'events' tab above.
 
Tiled floor comes up a treat
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The Minton tiled floor in the Chapel has been professionally restored, following receipt of a grant towards the cost from Erewash Borough Council.
 
Decades of dirt were gently removed and the result sees the tiles looking cleaner than they have done for very many years.
 
Our next restoration project is the impressive (and very heavy) hardwood 'altar' table.
 
(Image left, before restoration / right, after restoration).
 

 

copyright imageGreasley Singers shine at Victorian Christmas event
 
The Victorian Christmas event, our first attempt at anything other than an open day in the chapel, took place on 14th December. The Greasley Singers gave two 20-minute performances of carols and seasonal music which were very well received along with Christmas poetry read by Ann Featherstone and a reading from Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' by Grant Shaw. Various members of the committee entered into the spirit of the event by coming in 'Victorian' dress.
 
Erewash Borough Council provided us with a Christmas Tree and the usual
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suspects brought excellent home-made cakes and mince pies. The committee had attended earlier to dress the chapel with holly and ivy.
 
A success, and probably the first time for many decades (if ever) that the Chapel has heard a formal choral performance. The acoustics proved to be very good indeed, as stated by several members of the choir. A very generous unsolicited donation of £100 added to the tally from voluntary contributions for drinks and cakes.
 
 
copyright imageCoffee Morning a great success (again)
 
Our annual coffee morning in the Mayor's Parlour at Ilkeston Town Hall was well attended, with members of the public as well as the Friends and several councillors attending along with the Worshipful the Mayor of Erewash, Councillor Val Clare. Erewash MP Jessica Lee also popped in to show support.
 
John Chapman had received some good publicity on his search for details of Ilkeston's war dead and several people attended to give him details of relatives lost.
 
The tombola did very well, the Catering Dept did their usual excellent job with home made cakes and drinks and all in all it was another successful event for the Friends.
 
Takings were as follows : Tombola £52 and £88 in donations towards refreshments - total £140! Thanks as always to all those who helped make it happen.
 
 
 
copyright imageRemembrance 2013
 
After the committee meeting on 2nd November members held an informal act of remembrance at the War Memorial with John Chapman (who is researching the Commonwealth War dead in the Cemetery) laying a wreath on behalf of all the Friends.
 
The official act of remembrance with schoolchildren had been held on 22nd October but unfortunately the Friends were not informed until after the event.
 
 
 
 
Floor renovation going ahead
 
We are pleased to say that a grant has been received from Erewash Borough Council to enable renovation of the impressive Minton tiles in the Chapel.
 
Professional help has been engaged to carry out the work.
  
 
copyright imageSeptember Open Afternoon
 
Thanks to everyone who helped with our Open Afternoon on September 7th, particularly to Ann and Beverley for their tours, Christine and David for manning the Catering Dept and all those who turned up to support.
 

 
Cleanup morning turns up lost memorials
 
Several members turned out to help clean up some of the more overgrown old memorials recently and much ivy and undergrowth was taken away to reveal some headstones and memorials which had been covered for many years.
 
Thank you to everyone who helped; it is expected that more members' clean-up days will take place soon.
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copyright (c) Ann Featherstone 2013copyright image
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
'Afternoon tea' proves to be our best day yet
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More than eighty friends and visitors came along to our 'Afternoon tea' on 27th July.
 
The 'Catering Department' (Sally Bestwick and Christine Hudson) served their usual excellent home-made fare, tea, coffee and soft drinks and Anne Featherstone and Beverley Kilby gave two very interesting and well attended hour-long tours of the cemetery to visitors.
 
Stephen Flinders also brought along the Local History Society's bookstall, which did a roaring trade. We also gained at least four new members and several generous copyright imagedonations. 
 
Thank you to everyone who helped to make the afternoon such a success.
 
It is hoped to have one or two more open days before the end of the Autumn.
 
 
 
copyright imageConcerns raised over Moss obelisk
 
The Moss obelisk, one of the first monuments to be erected in the cemetery, has been gradually leaning outwards towards the path for some time but members have now raised concerns about the state of its foundations due to land movement and erosion.
 
The obelisk is a memorial to John Moss (1824-94), one of the first Mayors of Ilkeston and features on the earliest photograph we have of the cemetery, from around 1910.
 
As at 7th July, this large and heavy memorial has now been cordoned off with red and white tape by the Council.
 
UPDATE : 24th July - the memorial has now been fenced off with safety fencing and we understand the Council have arranged for repairs to be carried out.
 
 
Five go to York
copyright (c) Beverley Kilby 2013
 
Five members of the Friends attended the AGM of the National Federation of Cemetery Friends, hosted by York Cemetery Friends on 8th June.
 
The event gave members the chance to chat with other Friends Groups from as far afield as Glasgow and London and to find that we all face surprisingly similar problems.
 
There was also a very interesting tour of the cemetery, which was started by a private company in 1837 with its own catacombs and a recently magnificently restored chapel. 'A good day out'.
 
 

copyright (c) FOPC 2013Lots of fun (but few daffs) as restored clock is unveiled
 
The Friends held an open day on 23rd March and despite unseasonably bad cold and snowy conditions welcomed over a dozen visitors to the cemetery chapel with hot drinks and home made cakes. The event had originally been planned to copyright (c) FOPC 2013showcase our new daffodil beds at the front of the cemetery chapels which had been planted in the autumn by local schoolchildren, but due to the very cold weather the only daffodils present in bloom were those inside the building, generously donated to the event by Ilkeston's Tesco store.

We also unveiled the restored 'Closing Time' clock, a well known feature of the cemetery which had been removed due to its unsafe condition some years ago and has been restored as our first major project. The restoration has been supported by a generous donation from family and friends of June and Danny Shiels, who are buried in the cemetery. Family members Scott Fletcher, his son Lewis and father in law Vin came along to see the unveiling and were sincerely thanked by Friends Chairman Paul Miller for donating the money towards the clock's restoration. Paul also thanked the several members who turned out to run the event for their invaluable and cheerful help, as always.

(ABOVE) Some of the Friends at the unveiling of the restored closing time clock
(RIGHT) Scott Fletcher (r), son Lewis and father in law Vin with the closing time clock their donation helped restore
 
Cleanup morning a success
 
(c) FOPC 2013Many members helped with removing the loose paintwork from the internal chapel walls on 16th February, also with lifting the old waterproof (and water retaining) carpet tiles to allow the wooden decking to dry out and sweeping and vacuuming up afterwards. 
 
The chapel has regrettably deteriorated even more due to continuing damp problems this winter from the several damaged downpipes and removing the many layers of damaged loose paintwork will allow the fabric the opportunity to breathe.
 
We understand the Council have budgeted for repairs to the downpipes for the financial year from April. Many thanks to everyone who helped.
 
 
Schoolchildren lend a hand at bulb planting
 
Children from local Chaucer Junior School and Larklands Infants School enthusiastically planted the two circular beds at the front of the chapels with daffodil bulbs recently. We are very grateful for the assistance of Richard Windsor and EBC in supplying the bulbs but particularly in digging the holes, which would have been a mammoth job for us. Afterwards Chairman Paul Miller talked to the children about the Friends' restoration plans. Now all that remains is to wait for the spring and see exactly how even a pattern we have managed to achieve ...
 
 
Coffee Morning, 10th Novembercopyright (c) FOPC 2012
 
Thanks to all those hard working committee members who helped make the above event in the Mayor's Parlour at Ilkeston Town Hall a success, and to the Mayor of Erewash Cllr Jennifer Hulls, her Consort and MP Jessica Lee for taking the time to support us.
 
As usual, the home made cakes were a great success, as was the tombola The morning raised £103.04 on cakes and drinks, and the tombola took £38.89. We also gained two new members.
 
 
 
Remembrance Service
 
copyright (c) Grant Shaw 2012The annual Act of Remembrance took place on Tuesday 6th November in the presence of the Mayor of Erewash, organised by the Royal British Legion.
 
Children from nearbycopyright (c) Grant Shaw 2012 Chaucer Junior School took part, laying a poppy cross for each of the service personnel commemorated on our memorial.
 
As this is the first Remembrance since our founding, Chairman Paul Miller laid a wreath on behalf of the Friends.
 
Paul and Danny Corns then showed the children the inside of the chapel and said a little about the Friends' plans for the future.
 
 
Commemorating the War Dead
If anyone has any information or photos of the war dead commemorated on our cenotaph or buried in the cemetery we would be pleased to hear from you as this is one of our current projects.
 
 
copyright (c) John Cundy 2012
John Cundy's 'The Mourning Lady'
We are delighted to say that local artist John Cundy's pen and ink drawing of this elegant and moving memorial has now been completed and is intended to feature in future publicity for the Friends.
 
We are very grateful to John for his time and effort in producing such a beautiful work of art.
 
 
A successful afternoon
More than thirty people visited the chapel on 8th September as part of the cemeteries walk from Stanton Road Cemetery for the Heritage Open Day and the Walking Festival. 
 
Sacopyright (c) FOPC 2012lly and Christine served drinks and homemade cakes made by several members, which went down very well. Visitors were welcomed by Chairman Paul Miller, and were given a short talk on the history of the site by Stephen Flinders. 
 
A good afternoon, weatherwise and for making contacts, with at least five new members joining.
 
 
copyright (c) FOPC 2012Railings restored
We are pleased to report that the contractors have now completed restoration and replacement of the original cast iron railings near the main entrance off Park Avenue, which were demolished many months ago by an out of control vehicle.They have done an excellent job, and the work leaves this part of the railings and stone work looking almost as good as when new.
 
A word of recognition also to the workers from the Probation Service who have tidied up the main planted areas around the chapels and applied bark mulch to limit the spread of weeds. Many thanks to you all.
  
 
 
USEFUL LINKS
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THE FRIENDS OF PARK CEMETERY, ILKESTON
Officers 2016/2017 - Chairman : David Hudson Vice-Chair : Sally Bestwick  Secretary : Vacant  Treasurer : Christine Hudson
Contact email : friendsofparkcemetery@gmail.com
A MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF CEMETERY FRIENDS