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Ashleigh's Gardening Group Visit the Cemetery

Four members of Ashleigh Primary Schools garden group visited the Cemetery on Wednesday 18th December to put Christmas Wreaths they had made on the Adopted War Graves.  






FODC December 2013

Darwen Cemetery is on the Map

Two maps made of granite have been placed in Darwen Western Old Cemetery.
A 1k grant was obtained from the Lloyd Trust to pay for the construction and the maps made by Brent Stevenson Memorials. 

The maps commissioned by the Friends of Darwen Cemetery in partnership with Blackburn with Darwen Council will certainly support the many visitors to the cemetery looking for relatives and gives a general guide to the various sections of cemetery which was opened in 1861.


Chair of the FODC said,"We are so grateful for the generosity of the Lloyd Trust grant. The granite maps will certainly give the many visitors a overview of the location of family graves. 

signWe have noticed a significant increase in people looking for family graves and many graves are now being re erected and cared for. The Friends have regular working parties and the cemetery is undergoing much renovation and reclamation."

Other new signs that appeared outside both the Eastern and Western Cemeteries in 2013 were erected by Blackburn with Darwen Council to indicate each Cemetery.

Also during 2013 the commonwealth War Commission placed a plaque to advise that commonwealth War Graves are in the Cemetery. 

                   FODC December 2013

 Christmas Wreaths


Christmas Wreaths are available at the last Friends of Darwen Cemetery Working Party on Saturday 14th December between 10am and 1pm. 
in Darwen's Western Cemetery entrance via Lark Street,

The wreaths the brain child of FODC volunteer Anne Lamont help visitors remember loved ones and raise funds for the on going Restoration of Darwen Cemetery.

Chairman John East said, "Anne's a regular volunteer and has a real gift of preparing Christmas Wreaths which make such a difference to the memory of loved one, especially at this time of year."

Wreaths can be purchased on the day at Darwen Western Cemetery or phone 01254 771957.

shows Anne Lamont far right with FODC volunteers Kath Walsh, Alan Walton and Peter Van Dijk.

                                                   FODC November 2013

Remembrance Day 2013

fodc_image_1_2013On November 8th 2013 eighty two children, along with their
teachers and escorts from local schools came together to share an Act of Remembrance at the Cross of Sacrifice in Darwen Cemetery.

IMG_0864Wreaths were laid by dignitaries including Richard Westhead (representing Friends of Darwen Cemetery), the Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Councillor Salim Mulla and the
Mayor of Darwen Mrs Eileen Entwistle. 

fodc_image_3_2013A special visitor was Canadian Professor Andre Kuezewski who travelled from London to join us, he laid a wreath in remembrance of the fallen and also paid his respects at the three ATS graves in the cemetery.


The Professor presented Canadian poppy pins to the children present. 

The service was led by the Rev Terry Young, he, along with the children, visitors and members of the community observed a two minute silence.

IMG_0857After the service the school parties and the visitors split
into groups and went to place British Legion Crosses on the ninety seven Commonwealth Graves in the two cemeteries.

This simple but moving Act of Remembrance served as a reminder to all present of the debt we owe to our fallen soldiers.



                                                        FODC November 2013

IMAG0022Grave Maintenance

In November the Grave Maintenance team completed the Briggs Grave in Section B,

The headstone was straightened as part of the work done by Brent Stephenson Memorials on behalf of Blackburn with Darwen Council early in the year.

FODC members from Left to Right, Colin, Alan, Mick and Pat.

Well done everybody.

                                                     FODC November 2013

poppy_copyRemembrance Services 2013

As usual we will be holding two Remembrance services in the Western Cemetery to be held at the Cross of Sacrifice

Friday 8th November at 10.30
for 10.45am service

Following this service children from local schools place poppies
on the Commonwealth War Graves

Sunday 10th November at 10.30
for 10.45am service

All Welcome

                                                               FODC October 2013


Our Second Schools Newsletter

To read our Second Newsletter please click on the image.

If you would like to read our First School Newsletter click on the link below.


Darwen Gala 2013

The Friends of Darwen Cemetery are attending this year's Darwen Gala again, this year it is being held on Saturday on the 17th August.

There will be a bottle stall and the Cemetery Game for the Children.

We will also have an information stall with information on the new Grave Maintenance Scheme, our recent walk "Some Women of Darwen" booklet will be available to buy at 2.00

gala_3Can anyone spare an hour or two to help run the stall?

Also we need some bottles for the stall � alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

If you can help or donate please contact Diane Davies

If you would like to volunteer or if you would like to donate us some bottles, all the proceeds will go to FODC for our work in the cemetery.

                                                              FODC August 2013

gms_leaflet_cover_2013_1Grave Maintenance Scheme

Are you unable to visit the cemetery?

Do you need help caring for your grave?

You may live out of the area and may be concerned about the state of your relative's grave or you just need help in getting the grave plot into a more manageable state.

Then the Friends of Darwen Cemetery are here to help with their Grave Maintenance Scheme.

The attached leaflet explains the scheme which only applies to the Western Cemetery.

Click on the image to see the full leaflet

                                                                           FODC July 2013

70s 80s Night raises 412.00

On the 6th July we held our second 70's & 80's night, we had a very good night and everybody had a good time.

We also raised 412.00 for the evening, thank you to Diane and Brian for organising a fantastic night.








                                                               FODC July 2013

The Model of the Nature Garden Dry Wall Seat goes up for Auction

The fantastic model that Mick Walsh made to show how the Dry Stone Seat would look like when finished in the Nature Garden is going up for Auction to raise money for FODC.

Mick has been so kind in donating the model, the model goes under the hammer on Saturday 6th July at the 70s 80s Disco Night being

held at the Bridge Street Sports & Social Club, formerly the ICI Club.

dry_stone_wall_for_web(sorry all Tickets have sold out)

Mick and co finish off the real Dry Stone Wall in the Nature Garden last year.

                                                                        FODC July 2013

Our Latest Walk

On Saturday 22nd June we held our latest walk through the Cemetery.
The walk was led by Tony Foster and concentrated on the Women of Darwen who are buried in the Cemetery, this included the true story of one of our better known graves "the White Lady" Martha Jane Bury.


Although the weather was very hit and miss with heavy rain on minute and then sunshine the next, the 25 or so who braved the weather to go on the walk enjoyed the 1 hour talk on the women of Darwen.

The booklet that accompanied the Walk is still available at 2.00

If you would like a copy of this or any of our previous Walks please email Tony at

walk_june_2013_4To see the other 3 previous booklets click on the link below


                                                                                FODC June 2013

You are invited to the Friends of Darwen
Cemetery Summer Public Meeting

Saturday 22nd June from 2.00pm at the Whitehall Community Building, Whitehall Road, Darwen BB3 2LH

The meeting will be an informal get together for the public to be updated on

what FODC have achieved over the past year

* our future plans

* displays and leaflets

* Trustees will be on hand to answer any questions

* Afternoon tea will be served in the Sensory Garden
(weather permitting)

3.30pm - a new Heritage Walk led by Tony Foster -
Some Darwen Women

(meet at the Ashton Memorial in Darwen Western Cemetery)


Rosemary's Award

The FODC are proud that Rosemary has won
the award as we see the outstanding achievement she has made as our administrator.

We will be sorry to see her departure to Lincolnshire in the near future as Len and her move to be near family.

John East, Chair said,
"Without her efficiency and robust nature of keeping us all on track our achievements would be less.

Her contribution in setting up the Friends is outstanding and we owe her and Len our eternal thanks."

Rosemary Jackson is a co-founder of the Friends of Darwen Cemetery.
She has served as Secretory for the last three years. 

She has displayed total commitment in a voluntary capacity bringing with her skills of minutes writing, funding bid writing, administration and conducting herself with humour, selflessness and a willingness to succeed in the task of restoring, renovating Darwen Cemetery.

Rosemary has secured a successful Award for All bid of
10k in 2011 to restore a Nature Garden involving local children and schools.

She helped supervise the task which resulted in a mega 150 hours of
volunteer time in completing the task. 

She has earned the respect of both
local councillors, tradesmen, her fellow trustees and most of all the residents of Darwen in her efficient and enthusiastic approach to this project.

Rosemary has even recruited her own daughter in Sydney
Australia to research graves, especially the only Australian solider buried in Darwen Cemetery of which she and her husband Len have adopted.
She now has a well respected reputation of keeping everyone on task and supporting the work of the several individual task forces.

Rosemary serves as a reminder of what we can all achieve with determination, humour, tenacity and community spirit which all proud to be Darreners.

                                         FODC June 2013

A New Walk in the Cemetery

walk_june_2013_1On Saturday 22nd June we will be having a new Heritage walk through the Cemetery.

On this walk we will be concentrating on the Women of Darwen buried in the Cemetery.

We will also be telling you the true story
of the White Lady.

Tony Foster has researched and collated the booklet and will be giving the tour.

The walk will start after our Cemetery Public Open Meeting which is being held in the Whitehall Park Community

Building on Whitehall Road, Darwen and starts at 2.00pm, we will be offering a range of refreshments before the Walk Starts.

The Cost is 2.00 for the walk and will include a copy of the booklet.

Click on the image to print out a poster

Click on this link to see other Walks we have done in the past

                                                 FODC May 2013


Mick looking as smart
as the Cemetery!

Dedication so what!!!
Now the cemetery is looking smarter our volunteers feel they have to smarten up there appearance when working in the cemetery.

                                                            FODC May 2013

Groundwork visit our Working Party

Young people from the Darwen Groundwork

Environment group joined us at Saturday's Working Party on 18th May.

Despite the wet weather they worked very hard (and then ate all the Kit Kats!)

We hope to see them again in better weather.

They were very interested in what we are trying to achieve and have
asked if they can adopt a War Grave.


Groundwork work with local communities to improve their quality of life on projects such as youth engagement, sustainable development training, healthy lifestyle schemes, mental health initiatives, fundraising, community consultation and heritage work.

They use the environment as a tool to help people make healthier choices and deliver improved social and economic prospects.

Groundwork Pennine Lancashire work with local communities on a wide range of projects to improve the quality of life throughout the region.

For information about the work of Groundwork in our area visit their websites or contact Lesley Hall, Youth Project Manager at Groundwork.



                                                       FODC May 2013

To read our 2013 AGM Chairmans Report and the Minutes of our General Meeting, held on the 24th April 2013

Click here.


Our 2nd 70's 80's Disco Night


After our 1st 70's 80's night Iin 2011, Brian has agreed to host another,
on Saturday 6th June 2013

Our last 70's 80's night was so popular we ran
out of places, we also managed to raise 320.00 on the night,

so this year we have changed the venue to Bridge Street Sports & Social Club, formerly the ICI Club.

Tickets are 5.00 each and include a Potato Pie Supper.

Tickets are available either by ringing Diane on 07753 902649 or calling in to Audiotec, 193, Duckworth Street, Darwen.

Get your tickets early to avoid disappointment.

                                                         FODC May 2013

FODC Collects a Cheque from the last meeting of Darwen Civic Society

Diane_Civic_SocThe Friends of Darwen Cemetery were one
of several local voluntary groups who received cheques at the final winding up
of Darwen Civic Society after 50 years.

Diane Davies received a cheque for 250.00 from the Civic Society chairman Sally Haworth. 

The occasion also marked the launch of the Friends of Darwen Library's book on the life and times of Darwen artist James H Morton who was killed in the closing days of the Great War.

The book was edited by Harold Heys who is also pictured.

                                                         FODC April 2013

Lieutenant George Robert Craig M.C.44 Squadron

CraigGeorge Robert Craig MC, was born in Co. Durham and was the son of a Darwen doctor. I am sure the family home was up Whitehall Road. He was educated at Haileybury and joined the Lancashire Fusiliers' Public Schools' battalion soon after war broke out and when he was barely 17.

The following year he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the East Lancashire

He was awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry in France
in June 1916. George Craig was later seconded to the Royal Flying Corps and it was while practising manoeuvres in a Sopwith Camel above Ilford in Essex that he was killed in August 1917. He was just 19 years old.


The Sopwith Camel was very difficult to fly. It was so called because of a hump shape behind the propeller. It had a nasty habit of suddenly stalling and it was probably this that led to Craig's death.

For the full story click on the below link

Link to G.R. Craig (External Website)

For a copy of our FODC War Grave sheet on G.R. Craig click on the below link

Link to G.R. Craig Document

To go direct to our War Grave Page click on the below link

War Graves Page

Thank you to Peter Craig and Harold Heys

                                                     FODC February 2013

Our first Working Party Cancelled


Our very first working party of 2013 on
the 26th January was cancelled due to eight inches of snow that fell
All the best plans for our first working party went out the window, we were due to receive a large skip allowing us to remove many of the Rhododendron roots and branches that were dugout before Christmas, but due to the vast amount of snow that fell overnight that it made it impossible for the skip to be delivered.

Also with that amount of snow we would of found it very hard to find the roots to put in the skip.


The snow was that heavy on the trees that the shear weight had up rooted one tree between section F and section D2 at the top end of the cemetery.

As the tree fell it caught another tree breaking it in half.



                                                         FODC January 2013

Martha out in the cold

Marthaleftinthecold190113The memorial grave statue to Martha Jane Bury looks forlorn as winter sets in making the cemetery a cold but spectacular place to view the surrounding vistas of Darwen.

                                                             FODC January 2013

Poppy setting a bench mark

Poppy sat in the winter wonderland of Darwen Western Cemetery.

The bench made from old disused grave lintels makes the perfect rest for the Chairman's daughters Shih Tzu pet on a stroll around the cemetery.

                                                             FODC January 2013

Section B to be Completed


During January work is taking place to complete the re-erection of the headstones in Section B, which we started back in 2011 around the area of the first burial in time
for the 150th celebrations of the opening of
the Cemetery.

The work is being undertaken by Brent Stevenson Memorials, unfortunately the weather was not ideal.

                                                       FODC January 2013

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