Plaque unveiledÂ to celebrate preservation of historic Sheffield graveyard
A plaque has been unveiled at a forgotten graveyard in Sheffield, to celebrate the preservation of a key part of city's history.
When the United Reform Church put the Zion Graveyard in Attercliffe up for sale last year,Â it looked as though the final resting place of prominent abolitionistÂ Mary Anne Rawson might be lost forever.
The Friends of Zion Graveyard fought tirelessly to preserve the forgotten burial ground from redevelopmentÂ and preserve it as a natural and historic heritage site for the benefit of the community.
Luckily,Â after they received a Heritage Lottery grant to cover the purchase priceÂ andÂ supporters of the graveyard managed to raiseÂ Â£5,000Â theÂ site was saved.Â
Now, The Friends have uncovered a commemorative plaqueÂ to mark the historic occasion.
The event was well attended by supporters of the graveyard, including the Lord Mayor of Sheffield Magid Magid.
Members of the public were also invited to have a go at printing bunting withÂ flowers and leaves from the graveyard, which will be hung around the fence on the inside of the site.
The burial place, which sits in the midst of an industrial estate on Zion Lane, became engulfed inÂ vegetation during many years of neglect after Zion Congregational Church caught fire and was demolished.
Chair of Friends of Zion Graveyard, Penny Rea, said they are now working with Wildscapes, a subsidiary company ofÂ Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, to maintain the site as a wildlife haven.
She said: 'It's lovely, you can hear an amazing bird song even though it's in the middle of an industrial estate.
'We will also be introducing species of plant that would have previously been there in Victorian times, lots of British species that are native to the area.
'We will also be conducting research so we can tell stories of the site and of the people that are buried there, chemists, doctors, the history of Attercliffe. We can then share their stories, to educate children on those living in the area.'
The group currently open the graveyard to the publicÂ twice a month, but are aiming toÂ open moreÂ regularlyÂ and to publish leaflets and host events commemorating its history
Penny added: 'The unveiling of the plaque was our way of saying thank you to the contributors who donated money and to commemorate those who are buried there.'
The Friends are looking for more volunteers to enable them to open the historic site more, and are inviting members of the public to help with research, maintenance and to visit the historic site for a look around.
To become a volunteer emailÂ email@example.com or call Zion graveyard onÂ 07980 14377.