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The Thursday Group still work hard even in the Snow!

The Dry Stone Wall being built around the centre circle, in the Nature Garden continues to take shape, even in the Snow and Frost.

FODC December 2011

Hard work, all this posing!

Friends chairman John East stepped smartly into action when a hefty branch of a 25ft conifer crashed down and blocked a main path through the Cemetery. While gravediggers John and Peter Dawson were scratching their grizzled pates and wondering if it were perhaps time for a brew, he moved with the speed of lightning. He jumped into his car, raced off and borrowed a couple of heavy saws from Harold Heys and Bill Parkinson before dashing back to the disaster scene. John and Pete were still contemplating a brew as Our Hero handed 'em a saw each and told 'em: "Get cracking, lads!" So they did - while he sat on a nearby log and admired their sterling efforts, occasionally helping with useful advice along the lines of: "Missed a bit there, lads," and "Come on, lads. Going to be dark soon." The picture of him sawing through a hefty branch while Bill and the Dawson boys look on admiringly? Oh, no, no, no. That was just posed for the Telegraph. As Easty said: "I haven't had my picture in the paper for at least two days."

FODC November 2011 Picture: Jonny Stanley


Return of the White Lady

Martha Jane Bury has had an autumn clean-up thanks to Harold Heys and his neighbour Bill Parkinson.

"Everyone called her The White Lady," said Bill. "But no one knew why. Now we do!"

They spent several weeks spraying and brushing and now she looks almost back to her Victorian best. And they reckon her faint smile has widened just a little ...

click on link to Marthas story

link to Martha

FODC November 2011

Yellow_Daffodils_FLast Working Party 2011

On Saturday 26th November we held our last working party of 2011, we had a Cemetery full of Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, a Youth Group and School Children and with the help of loads of Adults we Planted 100s and 100s of Dafodills.

last_working_party_2011_1We planted the bulbs so quickly we had to go and buy more, the bulbs were planted in front of every Grave in Section C and on the side of the mound where the Non Conformist Chapel once stood.

I would like to thank Four Seasons Garden Centre for helping us out with the urgently required Dafodill bulbs at a very heavily discounted rate.

I would also like to thank Claires Creatures for donating for FREE plants to put in the large planter in between the North and South Lodges Entrance, we also managed to put the plants in other parts of the Cemetery.


Whilst many of us were planting Bulbs other Members were hard at it in the Nature Garden fighting against the Mud making the Stone Wall around the centre circle.

Ann made some Christmas Wreaths and Potts and any money raised Ann was
donating to FODC.

What a fantastic end to the Working Parties.

last_working_party_2011_5After the Working Party ended the members had a well earned break with a Spud Pie in the Cemetery Hotel.

Thank you to everybody who have helped, donated and organised the Working Parties in 2011 and look forward to starting all over again next year, especially when all the Dafodill Bulbs come out, it will be a great sight.

Our first Working Party in 2012 is on Saturday 28th January.

Photographs by Diane Davies
FODC November 2011

70s 80s Disco

On Saturday 19th November we held a 70s 80s Disco at the Craiglands Function Rooms, the night was a great success, we sold all the tickets avaliable and made 320 for FODC.
Thanks Diane and Brian for organising a fantastic night!

A big thank you to Paul & Sandra at the Craiglands for their generosity helping us make the night the success it was.



For more photographs of the night click on the below link.

70s 80s Disco

Photographs by Diane Davies
FODC November 2011

Vandalised Graves Re-erected

The graves vandalised recently in the Eastern Cemetery have been
re-erected by Brent Stevenson this week.

Brent has kindly completed the work for free.




Before                                                 After

John East said "An amazing result of basic kindness and thought from Brent Stevenson. I have nothing but praise for the speedy re erection of these family headstones. Great to see goodwill lives on and gives the human spirit a glow"

Thanks Brent from everybody at FODC

FODC November 2011


To coincide with Remembrance Day we have researched some of the War Graves in the Cemetery

To have a look click on the names below.

Arrand L
Calvert G.
Blackledge J.
Done A.
Hindle C.J.
Orrell W.H.
Poole J.
Ward A.E.
Wilkinson H.
Yates W


Remembrance Day Sevices 2011

The first Remembrance Service on Friday 11th November 2011

Schools Commemorate the Sacrifice at Darwen

Over 80 local children and students attended the Friends of Darwen Cemetery Remembrance Service on Friday 11th November the 11th Month in the 11 year of the 21st century at 11am.
Local MP Jake Berry for Rossendale and Darwen and local D Day veteran and Darrener, Richard Westhead also attended and help place remembrance crosses on the 97 War Graves with chldren and students from local schools in both Eastern and Western cemeteries.

Many local residents and friends attended.
Re. Lena Talbot led a short service of remembrance with local students taking part.
Schools who attended were St. Peter's CE Primary, St. Joseph's RC Primary, Holy Trinity CE Primary, St. Barnabas CE Primary, Ashleigh Primary, Sudell Primary, Darwen Vale High School and Darwen Aldridge Community Academy.


John East, Chairman of the FODC said, "It was very moving, especially with local children taking part, placing crosses on the war graves with Jake Berry MP for Darwen, Richard Westhead, several war widows and Patrick O'Reily a retired soldier from a Lancashire Regiment. It is important to remember those war graves of the fallen buried here in Darwen.

Each one is now adopted by local schools, indivuals and organisations and I pay tribute the Darwen Community who respect and look after our local war dead."

The second Remembrance Service on
Sunday 13th November 2011

remem_20"Everything was ready - gazebo up, hot and cold drinks ready, table out, leaflets ready - all was set. At 10.40am - everyone arrived. Best of all the weather was mild and the sun appear. Our special guest was Mike Coyle, Lancaster's War Memorial Trusts Coordinator. Diane Davies helping with the new sound kit and the Rev. Lena fronting the Remembrance service.

The service was attended by members of St. Joseph's Scout Group - who arrived by mini bus from morning mass. Residents of Darwen and members of the FODL joined in a moving service of remembrance, during which the sky above appeared to give us a kiss as two passing aircraft's jet-streams crossed.

Attendees were invited round the cemetery to see the crosses placed on each grave last Friday by local children and students. Refreshments served and our tribute and service of remembrance over.

The FODC again proudly thanks everyone for helping and taking part as we continue to honour the service men and woman buried in Darwen Cemetery by tending their graves and involving the community, especially young people.

Chairman John East said, "It was very moving and solemn occasion and I hope we can continue in our communities and society to learn to live in peace and harmony out of respect to the fallen, who gave so much for us in past and continuing conflicts."

Photos by Diane Davies, John East and Jayne Waring

FODC November 2011


Graves Flattened in Darwen Eastern Cemetery

Darwen's two cemeteries have been thankfully free of vandalism, apart from the Council - inspired flattening and wrecking of dozens of headstone a few years ago in the imagined interests of "elf"n'safety."

FlattenedUntil Thursday evening, October 27, when eight headstones in the Eastern Cemetery were kicked over by young scrotes. Fortunately none of the headstones appear to have been broken and no doubt they can be stood up again.

Police are investigating and are confident that they will find those responsible.

There was a similar incident in Great Harwood a couple of days later where one councillor said those responsible should be "birched on the town gates."

No doubt his plan will shock the namby-pambies and the do-gooders. Most reasonable people will hail an excellent idea.

A spokesman for the Friends of Darwen Cemetery said: "There was probably a small group of yobs and not all of them would have been responsible for this wanton vandalism. It only needs one of those kids, someone who does know right from wrong, to make one phone call and mention a few names."

And he urged: "Do it. Do it now."

A visitor to the Cemetery, a young man, had little faith in the justice system making an example of the vandals. "All it needs is for the names of those who have done this to be passed round. People will know who they are. A lot of hefty young lads have relatives buried in the two cemeteries and they would be happy to meet up with them and, er, ask them politely not to do it again."

Another visitor, an elderly woman, commented: "When you look at those headstones lying flat you have to think that it wouldn't have taken much to shove them over. The bases look very weak. But I suppose that when they were erected vandalism wasn't as rife as it is now."

FODC November 2011.


FODC are invited to the Mayors Parlour.

Coun. Foster invited the FODC to the Mayors Palour to thank them for the work they have completed. Each volunteer was presented with a Mayor's Certificate of Appreciation.

The Mayor Coun. Karimah Foster with Friends of Darwen Cemetery at Blackburn With Darwen Town Hall.

Coun. Foster said, "We appreciate the work you do in the community and value your contribtion, especially in the
restoration, restoring and preservation of Darwen's heritage cemetery and giving the people of Blackburn with Darwen a place of value, peace and serenity. Very Well done."

Coun. Foster presents Rosemary with a certificate of appreciation.

FODC November 2011

A great walk - and a crowd of 140


WE really couldn't believe how many folk turned up for our latest walk on the eve of Hallowe'en. Guides Tony Foster and Harold Heys had billed it as "Torment and Tragedy" and that's exactly what the large crowd got - all 140 of them.

for the full story click on the below link.

Halloween Walk

FODC October 2011


Who is our Mystery Grafter?

Now then, who on earth is this character helping out at one of the last working parties of the year? He looked rather familiar, but no one could quite place him. "He looks a bit like John, er, John Wotsit, our chairman," said Colin. "No, no," said Harold. "John's just the chairman. He doesn't actually do any work. He's more of a sort of figurehead. He wanders around chatting to people. That's his role - not shoving a loaded wheelbarrow around." Alan was equally puzzled: "Who's this John East you're talking about?" he asked. "Our chairman," explained Patrick. "What does he do, then," asked Alan. "Dunno," said Patrick. "He chairs the occasional meeting and, er, and, er ... takes his dog for a walk while we are grafting away, and, er, talks a lot." Perhaps a local borough councillor had decided to help? suggested Jill with her tongue firmly in her cheek. Everybody cracked out laughing. We finally worked it out - thanks to Len and Rosemary, with a bit of help from Paul.

To see the well-wrapped up Mystery Man unmasked ...

see Below!

                                                     FODC October 2011

Mystery Man revealed 

Yes, it was Our John after all! "I got fed up with Harold moaning that I never got my hands dirty so I carted a couple of loads of wood chippings up to the ashes circle," he explained. "But it was raining a bit and I soon got fed up. I was out of breath and couldn't talk to anyone. It was awful. But they can't moan now. I've actually done something!" However, he added ominously: "Never again!

                                                              FODC October 2011


Ashes Memorial Garden Plaques and Plinths

If you are interested in purchasing one of the Bench Plaques or a Plinth Wedge.

Click on the image on the left to open up the full Brochure (in a PDF file)

We will shortly add instructions on the website by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council Cemetery Office on how and where the Ashes should be spread. if you require any further information contact the Cemetery Office,
Telephone 0845 6066612

If you require any further information please contact Brent Stevenson Memorials on
01254 202019

or click on the below link to visit the website


                                                                   FODC August 2011


Lottery Grant Events 2011

click on the below link to see events and dates

Lottery Grant Events Page

The Eccles Shorrock legacy to Darwen is marked at last

Darwen marked World Mental Health Day in style by unveiling a headstone on the unmarked grave of its greatest benefactor, Eccles Shorrock.

Eccles Shorrock began the construction in 1862 of India Mills and its magnificent 300-foot Italianate chimney that still dominates his home town. It was opened in 1868 by the Marquis of Hartington and described by Evan Leigh in The Science of Modern Cotton Spinning as "one of the noblest specimens of mill architecture which this country affords".

The cost of the mills, the American Civil War and the subsequent cotton famine and his benevolent generosity to his town and his workers bankrupted Eccles Shorrock by 1882.

He lived under lock and key for years in various asylums, a victim of what is now known as bipolar disorder after he went bankrupt in 1882. He was buried in an unmarked grave at Darwen Cemetery after a private ceremony.

Hundreds of his former workers lined the roads to thIndia_Mill_Chi_Fre cemetery but the stigma surrounding his illness caused local newspapers to avoid any mention of his illness. The Blackburn Standard said: "To the poor, he was exceedingly kind and charitable."

A large group of Friends, supporters, local folk interested in the town's heritage and several descendants of Eccles Shorrock braved heavy rain. Among those who attended were Darwen librarian Mary Painter and former cemetery manager Mik Ince who was given a warm welcome.

The Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen, Councillor Karimeh Foster, unveiled the black granite memorial at the vault from where the Grade II* chimney could be seen rising into the heavy afternoon mist, a mile to the north.

The Rev Geoff Tolley dedicated the headstone which had been paid for by India Mills and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and with a kind defraying of a portion of the Harold_Frcost by stonemasons Brent Stevenson. Harold Heys spoke of the Shorrock legacy to the town and Tony Foster explained the history of the Shorrock-Ashton vault.

Said Friends chairman John East: "The weather was terrible but we had a good turn-out. Everyone was very pleased with how well it all went and it was a fitting way for us to mark World Mental


Health Day."

FODC October 2011
Photographs by Heather Stanley and John East

A thank you from his granddaughter

Julian Marshall, a great-granddaughter of Eccles Shorrock, has emailed to compliment the Friends on the new headstone. She though our choice of date, on the eve of World Mental Health Day, was very suitable. It was "a clever idea to make the link in public awareness."

Mrs Marshall, who lives near Chichester, wrote the definitive history of Eccles Shorrock nearly 20 years ago. There are copies in Darwen Library.

She thought Brent Stevenson's headstone looked splendid and the white lettering in the dark stone "very distinguished." She added: "I think you have all achieved something very special - thank you."

Harold Heys was of some assistance when she was writing her book and has kept in touch. He sent her photographs and newspaper cuttings and has promised to send her more information.

                                                          FODC October 2011

Bat Walk

Our first bat walk took place on Friday 9th September on a clear night after days of rain.

The walk was led by Dave Anderson from the East Lancashire Bat Group assisted by members of the group.

There was a really good turnout of over 60 people of all ages, including 10 Beavers with their families.

As it was a clear night we had to wait some time for it to go dark and while we were waiting Dave showed us a rare bat - a Whiskered Bat - that he had been called upon to rescue when it was found clinging to a shop front in the centre of Burnley.

This was the first live bat that many people had ever seen.


The Bat Group had brought Bat Detectors and we were shown how these worked and how different species gave out different signals so they could be identified.

The most common bat is the pipistrelle and as it became dark and we moved round the cemetery we were able to detect these bats feeding on insects above the shrubbery.

As we went higher up the cemetery the detectors showed a different bat and we were thrilled to find we too had the rare Whiskered Bat in the cemetery.

The clear night meant that many of the bats had travelled away to feed over water where there would be many insects.

The walk was very informative and we hope to have more bat walks in the future, perhaps with smaller groups with some for children and some
for adults.

Rosemary Jackson, Photographs Diane Davies
September 2011

Our Dry Stone Wall Seat is completed.

Earlier this month we completed the Dry Stone Wall Seat in the Nature Garden.

Congratulations to Mick Walsh and the team who have managed to build the seat from nothing but recycled Stone from around the Cemetery, the cost to make was next to nothing apart from some grazed fingers.

Well Done!!

Click on the link below to see more Photographs

More Photographs

                                         FODC September 2011

Autumn Flower Champagne from Himalayan Balsam

Click on the below link to see a recipe for Autumn Flower Champagne as seen on the ITV Alan Titchmarsh Show.
Possibly some adventitious FODC member might have ago at making the Champagne, plus what a great way to recycle Himalayan Balsam in the Cemetery at the same time.
Any takers - look forward to a celebration drink - perhaps a fund raising opportunity. for wine and cheese !!!!!

                                               John East September 2011

American interest in Our Martha

The work of the Friends and the co-operation of Brent Stevenson in re-erecting the statue of Martha Jane Bury (See our Archive section) has stirred interest from across the Atlantic.

British history scholar Barbara Blaszak "discovered" Martha Jane while working on the Co-operative Movement and its Women's Guild in New York and she has been in touch with Friends chairman John East and local historians Tony Foster and Harold Heys.

Professor Blaszak said she was "absolutely delighted" to learn about our efforts to rehabilitate the cemetery. She and her husband had tried to find Martha's grave when they visited Darwen a few years ago but were unsuccessful.

However, she was able to use archival material from "Darwen's beautiful Carnegie library" to help her write an article for a scholarly journal and for the Dictionary of National Biography.

She wrote: "I always resented the way the Women's Guild general secretary, Margaret Llewelyn Davies, wrote Martha out of Co-operative history after Martha died in the middle of a controversy the two women were having over divorce law reform and women's suffrage. It seemed so cheap and catty, yet Davies' reputation certainly hasn't suffered in consequence. History is no fairer than life, is it?"

Harold sent her some photos and she told him how shocked she had been at the state of Darwen Cemetery. We're doing our best, Barbara! But it ain't easy.

To read Marthas full story click on the link below

Link to Martha

                                                            Harold Heys September 2011

Richard Westhead

"Richard Westhead who is 90 years old and laid the wreath at last years FODC Remembrance Day commemoration has appeared on Granada Reports Local Heroes.

For many years he organised the British Legion Poppy Day Appeal and made crosses to go on all the war graves in Darwen Cemetery. Last year the poppy crosses were placed on the graves by FODC with lots of help from local schoolchildren.
Richard is a D Day veteran and the FODC would like to pay tribute to his work in Darwen and his example of voluntary work both in tidying up in the Bold Venture area and making the crosses for 90 plus war graves in Darwen Cemetery. We hope he and his wife Margaret can again lay the wreath at this year's Remembrance Day Service at Darwen Cemetery.
Richard is a wonderful example and role model of someone making a difference to the town he is proud to live in."

Click on the link below to see a clip on Richard that appeared on Granada Reports recently.


FODC September 2011

Lancashire cemeteries' tales of heroes and villains

The FODC has been given a good plug by the BBC.

You'll find the links to the full story at the bottom of this piece.

You can press the first link to take you to direct to our own In the Press Page or press the second link which will take you direct to the BBC News Website

The feature was written by Emma Stanley, Harold and Christine Heys' daughter who has had her family up at the cemetery helping us from time to time.
She went up again and took a few photos which also appear in the article.

Her piece draws a comparison with other North West cemeteries which are struggling with thefts and vandalism.

It's just a pity that the article appeared as the elegant stem on the rose at the centre
of the ashes garden was found to have been broken off by yobs.

You can click on the first link to take you direct to our own 'In the Press' Page or click on the second link which will take you direct to the BBC News Website

In the Press

FODC August 2011

Darwen Gala 2011

On Saturday 20th August 2011 the Friends of Darwen Cemetery attended Darwen Gala, this follows on from our first visit last year.

We attracted a lot of visitors to our stand through out the day and hopefully our visit to the Gala will lift the profile of FODC and the Cemetery and helped us to raise 145.00 in the process.


The weather was fine until about 4pm when the heavens opened and the Gala came to a early end.

We would like to thank everybody who donated bottles for the Tombola, toys to go in to the Lucky Dip and those members who gave up their time on the days leading up to the Gala and on the Saturday to help running the stand during the course of the day.


FODC August 2011

Dead Art? Then and Now Competition 2011

The Memorial Awareness Board are currently running their
'Dead Art? Then and Now' competition for a second year.

Once again it is sponsor by StoneGuard and they are offering a prize of 1000 to the entry which best captures the beauty of stone memorials,
then and now.

For more information please visit the below website link

FODC August 2011

FODC become a Registered Charity

We are pleased to announce that we are now a Registered Charity
No 1142815.

To comply with charity law we have changed the wording of our Objectives in our Constitution.

As well as improving our legal standing we also hope to be able to access new funding streams.


3rd_newsletter_page_1Our 3rd News Bulletin is now availiable

Update on:-
The Ashes Memorial Garden,
The Nature Memorial Garden
Our Next Walk - Halloween Walk
Bat Walk through the Cemetery
Our USA Visitors
Dates for your Diary
Do you remember the Chapels in the Cemetery?
FODC become a Charity.

So much to get in the News Bulletin we have had to spread it over 4 pages.

Click on the link to go to the Bulletin Page.

link to Bulletin Page

FODC August 2011

Would you like to go on a Bat Walk in the Cemetery?

On Friday 9th September FODC are hosting a Bat Walk through the Western Cemetery with the help of East Lancashire Bat Group.

This is a free session and we plan to meet in the Nature Garden off Lark Street at 7.30pm.

Please wear sensiable footwear and you may wish to bring a tourch.

Children should be accompanied by an adult.

For further information please contact Rosemary Jackson on 01254708828 or email her on


If you would like to print the poster click on the image.

Rosemary Jackson August 2011

Hannah views the finished Rose


Hannah Jackson and family are photgraphed next to the recently errected Rose Plinth in the Ashes Garden, Hannah (3rd from the Left) designed the Rose in a competition last year, the Rose was kindly made and donated by Brent Stevenson Memorials

                                                            FODC July 2011

Are you related to Richard Hurst Eccles?


Richard was the first burial in Darwen Cemetery on 2nd June 1862.

Are you related to the infant?

If so than please contact Tony Foster (tonyfoster@darwencemetery.org.uk or 0161 764 2821

so that we can add to the information we have on this important child.

Co-op Big Community Vote.

The Coop Big Community Vote has now closed on the 31st July 2011, we will find out if we have won the 2,000 on the 1st September 2011

if you voted for FODC we would like to say a big
Thank You!

FODC August 2011

Try our Cemetery Quiz

Click on the below link


Exhibition up and running

The Friends' exhibition covering the 150 years of the old cemetery went on display at Darwen Library on June 18.

Both walls of the exhibition room are covered with photographs and information.

It was compiled and displayed by Tony Foster and Harold Heys with assistance from Lena Talbot.

Librarian Mary Painter said: "It's a very bright exhibition, especially considering the rather sombre subject." Tony has also done a display in one of the glass cases in the foyer.

Harold Heys June 2011

If you missed our latest tour


Link to the Tours Page

If you missed our latest tour of the Cemetery and would like to purchase the booklet please click on the link to go direct to our Tours Page

FODC June 2011

Celebrating the
first burial

The sun came out and the cemetery was looking as good as it has done for 30 years or more as the Friends of Darwen Cemetery marked the pauper's grave of the first interment at the cemetery - exactly 150 years on. There is now a marble marker on the grave of 15-month-old Richard Hurst Eccles of Red Earth Mount. He had died of "teething", a common cause of death in the mid-Victorian days.


The unveiling ceremony was done by the Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen, Councillor Karimeh Foster and Lord Darwen, fourth Baronet Paul Davies who had travelled up from his home near Oxford together with his uncle Stephen and sister Sarah.

After the ceremony, attended by some 60 people, three members of the local clergy gave blessings - the Rev. Andrew Holliday for the Church of England, Fr Peter Wilkinson, representing the Roman Catholic Church and the Rev Geoff Tolley representing the United Reformed Church.


Earlier in the afternoon, Lord Darwen and his relatives enjoyed a very interesting tour of the town. Tony Foster and I showed them round the houses and mills the Davies family used to own. They saw Waterfield mill and the site of Greenfield Mill. They toured Garden Village which was built for their workers by the Davies family just before the Great War, and they saw houses such as Heatherfield, Woodside Bank and Moorthorpe before visiting the family vault and the top of Section C.


Mrs David Marsh made the party very welcome at Moorthorpe and she showed them the deeds of the house that revealed that two of Lord Darwen's forefathers had lived there around 100 years ago.


I spoke on Gandhi's visit to Darwen - he had been invited by Percy Duckworth, the first Baron Darwen - and the later history of the family. Chairman John East presented him with a folder containing a lot of the Davies history from 100 years of involvement with the town.On the following morning John showed them Duckworth Street UR Church and they had coffee and biscuits with the Mayor and her consort, Councillor David Foster, in her parlour at Blackburn Town Hall.

Lord Darwen, who succeeded to the title only the week before his visit, on the death of his father Roger, lives near Oxford with his wife and children. His company designs and manufactures sustainable housing.

In a gracious speech at the dinner he thanked everyone for making his visit such a resounding success. He said he and his sister and uncle had thoroughly enjoyed their brief visit and he warmly complimented the Friends on all the hard work they had done to brighten up the cemetery.

For more photographs on our celebrations click on this link

For loads more photographs click on this link to go to our Gallery page

Harold Heys June 2011
Photographs by Paul Dargan & Rosemary Jackson

Donation from Darwen Motorcycle Club


Back in March we were given a donation of 285 from Darwen Motorcycle Club.
Every year the club gives a donation to a good cause in the local area and this year they had been told of the good work the friends were doing in the Cemetery and they decided to choose FODC for this years donation.

The donation was collected on behalf of FODC by Rosemary and Len Jackson and David Shorrock at their meeting at the Borough Pub.

Thank you!

FODC June 2011

How many can you spot?

There's quite a contrast between the headstones and memorials of the cemetery's early days and the more modest, smaller ones of today. It is almost certainly a question of cost, but also a question of taste and those twin imposters of our everyday life "elf 'n' safety".

When was the last time that Brent Stevenson Memorials or Howarth's of Astley Bridge were asked to fashion a tall stone memorial featuring perhaps a torch or a draped urn?

Many of the old headstones in Darwen Cemetery have a wide variety of adornments and here, based on an excellent book on the renovation of Undercliffe Cemetery in Bradford, is a list of symbolism in funerary art.

How many examples can you find in Darwen Cemetery?

Anchor: Hope or being "at rest"

Book with a cross: Faith


Complete: A full life

Broken: A life cut short

Cross: On three steps - faith, hope and love

Dove and olive sprig: Hope or promise

Fish: Faith

Hourglass: Traditional symbol of time

Ivy: An evergreen; immortality

Lamp: A light to heaven; knowledge

Lily: Purity

Lion: Courage and strength

Oak leaves: Victory

Palm: Triumph

Obelisk: Eternal life

Phoenix: Christ's resurrection

Rocks: Christian steadfastness

Rose: Lack of sin

Scroll: Symbol of life or time.

Scythe: Passage of time

Shell: Pilgrimage to heaven

Sundial: Passage of time

Torch: Immortality

Tree: Love of Christ


Draped and empty: Death

Flaming: New life

Wheat: Fruitfulness harvested

(May 2011)

Wedding Tree planted for William and Catherine by the Friends of Darwen Cemetery.

A tree donated by Tony Kirkham formerly of Darwen and now Head of the Arboretum at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.

The Tree is an Elm and will shortly have a commemoration plaque - saying "Planted to commemorate the Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton now Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Friday 29th April 2011 - by the Friends of Darwen Cemetery."

FODC April 2011

The Tulips are looking just great!


The Tulips on the Ashton Memorial, planted by former Committee Member Susan Smith, have now opened and are looking just great!

The Council have also contributed with the supply of the other flowers planted.

Thanks Susan from all at FODC

FODC April 2011

The Ashes Garden starts to take shape


During May the new Ashes Garden, just above Section C, has started to take shape, Brent Stevenson Memorials have already laid the foundations for the circular path, the plinth for the Central Rose and one of the three seating areas.

A scan of the plan for the Ashes Garden

FODC April 2011

Great job by Payback

THE Probation Service's Payback team has been back at Darwen Cemetery
working hard to improve the area.

Under the supervision of David Luke, small groups have been spending a few
days around the end of February and early March doing a variety of jobs.

For the full story click on this link

Laying of planings (reclaimed asphalt)
behind the South Lodge

Harold Heys

March 2011

Pat on the back from MP

JAKE BERRY has promised to help out the Friends of Darwen Cemetery - not with a massive government grant but a bit of digging on one of their regular working parties later this year. "No problem." he said with a smile.

The MP for Rossendale and Darwen was very impressed with the work being done by the group and by the lads from the Probation Service's Payback team who have been in action at the cemetery recently.

He was on his way from a constituency surgery in Darwen to a second at Edgworth and wasn't dressed to help out with the digging and the cutting this time. But he promised to have a go for himself next time.

Rosemary and Diane give Jake a quick tour and come across Anne beavering away.

Mr Berry told Friends' chairman John East that his group and others in the town were setting an excellent example and he hoped they would all go from strength to strength.

Pictured with Mr Berry are (from left) secretary Rosemary Jackson, Diane Davies who is in charge of the war graves, and John East.

(February 2011)

Right, said Fred; that's it!

A familiar face will be missing from the two Darwen Cemeteries with the early retirement of Fred James. But it won't be for long!

Fred, who has well over 20 years service behind him, has promised to call round from time to time and help the Friends with their voluntary work. Once he has done a spot of decorating and been on holiday.

Says Fred: "I've enjoyed working in the cemeteries. It can be serious work, but we've had a lot of laughs along the way and I know I'm going to miss it."

John East, chairman of the Friends, says: "Fred can handle just about any heavy equipment you can think of. His enthusiasm and humour are going to be missed. We are very pleased that he'll be keeping in touch."

(February 2011)


The Big Lottery -
Awards for All

In December 2010 we were successful in our bid to the Big Lottery Awards for All for 10,000. The bid was for several things including a Nature Memorial Garden to be built on the site of the derelict rose garden site in the newer part of the Old Cemetery. A group of our volunteers recently met up on site to discuss how we are going to tackle the garden. We will be able to purchase seating and plants to encourage wildlife and make it a place of peace and tranquillity for people to visit.

Work will be carried out refixing some of the broken memorials in the vicinity of the Nature Memorial Garden to make this area safe for use. We would have liked to refix many more but our funding is limited. (Hopefully we can raise more in the future to make a real impact in the Cemetery)

We would like to work with young people of the town who have signed up to volunteer and incorporate their ideas. We aim to run some sessions/demonstrations in the garden for all ages led by experts in their field in things such as building bird, bat boxes and insect houses, bat walks, dry stone walling, craft sessions etc

As well as running sessions in the Nature Garden we will be able to offer FODC volunteers training such as First Aid; Fundraising; Working with Volunteers; Using Power Tools, etc.

We will also be able to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the opening of the Old Cemetery with events starting in June and an Exhibition in Darwen Library.

We have already been able to replace a very old laptop we were using for administration of the group and have purchased a laser printer to go with it, so this will really help with the whole project. We will be advertising all the events on our website, local press and on our notice boards, so look out for them running from June onwards. Everyone is welcome to join in and if you would like to volunteer please come to one of our meetings.

(Rosemary Jackson February 2011)

Our First Working Party of 2011

Our first working party of 2011 was held on Saturday 29th January in freezing tempratures and once again it was the Rhodis that kept us entertained!
As at the end of last year the Rhodis in Section C of the Old Cemetery have once again taken up all our time, removing barrow after barrow of chippings and triming back the Rhodis still left standing. No doubt the Rhodis will keep us busy for months to come.


Ann moving the Rhodis                      Diane moves the chippings.


Bird Count 2011
Rosemary conducted a RSPB 1 hour bird count on Saturday

Rosemary conducting the Bird Count

The Birds counted in the 1 hour were 3 blackbirds, 12 blue tits, 7 carion crows, 1 chaffinch, 4 great tits, 2 magpies,
7 robins, 8 woodpigeon and 1 wren.

(January 2011)

Do you want to know how to find out more information about the War Graves?

If you want to know how you can find out more information on any of the War Graves in the Cemetery, click on the below link, Tony Foster has compiled an easy to follow, step by step and where to find guide on how you could find out further information.

Hints on how you can find out more information

(downloadable PDF file)

(November 2010)


Books, booklets and pamphlets

Available for loan to Members - contact Rosemary Jackson for details (rosemaryjackson@darwencemetery.org.uk).


History and Traditions of Darwen and its People: comprising an historical and traditional narrative (1889) J. George Shaw

Industrial Heritage: A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Darwen. Mike Rothwell 1992

Paradise Preserved: an introduction to the assessment, evaluation, conservation and management of historic studies. English Heritage 2007 with advice from Natural England

Saving Cemeteries: a handbook for Cemetery Friends - The National Federation of Cemetery Friends 2009

Newsletters and Booklets

Dry Stone Walls Around Churchyards - The Living Churchyard & Cemetery Project in conjunction with the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain

National Federation of Cemetery Friends Newsletters

Spring 2010, Autumn 2010

Blackburn with Darwen's Voluntary, Community and Faith Sector - Threeway

Community Voluntary Service - (CVS) and Community Network

Summer 2010


Commemorative Structures Selection Guide Heritage Protection Department March 2007

The future of our cemeteries - report by Brent Stevenson 2009

Friends of Darwen Whitehall Cemetery - report by Dunn & Co 2009

Blackburn with Darwen Open Space Strategy March 2006

(October 2010)

Help Needed


Cemetery Burial Registers: Volunteers required to
transcribe these registers.
This can be undertaken from home from images the
FODC can supply on CD.
Guidelines on how to complete the work will be supplied.

For information contact Tony Foster - tonyfoster@darwencemetery.org.uk

Sample of the Burial Register RegisterAgreement
(downloadable PDF File) (downloadable PDF File)

(October 2010)

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