EAGER volunteers rolled up their sleeves to clear up a historic Sheffield burial ground which has become rundown and blighted by litter.
Some 18 workers from Sheffield Council’s waste management contractor Veolia donned high-visibility vests, safety shoes and gloves and collected more than three tonnes of waste from Wardsend Cemetery.
The rubbish was taken to the Bernard Road incinerator and burned to create heat and power for the city.
Judith Turner, director of operations for Veolia, who was among those involved, said: “We are very proud to have initiated the clean up day.
“We had 18 volunteers that took part over the morning and afternoon sessions and we all thoroughly enjoyed it.
“It may seem like a relatively small gesture but the clean up goes some way to making our local community better for everyone.”
Coun Harry Harpham, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for homes and regeneration, said: “I would like to thank the volunteers from Veolia for taking part in the clean up day.
“Sheffield is the greenest city in Britain and Sheffield City Council is committed to protecting and improving these areas.”
Wardsend Cemetery opened in 1857 and those buried include old soldiers from the nearby former Hillsborough Barracks - who have a commemorative obelisk among the graves - victims of both world wars, and 240 victims of the great flood in 1864.
The final burial took place in 1977, when the re-interment of remains from a building site close to Sheffield Cathedral took place and the cemetery was officially closed in 1988.
Although it remained legally open for burials until 1988, Wardsend Cemetery has been increasingly neglected. In recent years, it had become overgrown and blighted by litter, unauthorised dumping and weeds including Japanese Knotweed.
Volunteers from the surrounding area have established a friends group to look after the cemetery in the long term.
n For information, log onto www.friendsofwardsendcemetery.btck.co.uk