Big ambitions for war heroes graveyard in Sheffield

A friends group launched to restore a war heroes graveyard in Sheffield has been inspired by the example of others.

Monday, 30th September 2019, 15:26 pm
Updated Tuesday, 1st October 2019, 17:02 pm

Loxley Cemetery has become badly overgrown in recent years, with some headstones buried in the undergrowth and others left inaccessible due to weeds blocking its paths.

The Friends of Loxley Cemetery, which was officially formed at a meeting last month, aims to reverse years of neglect by tidying up and maintaining the historic burial place for generations to come.

The group’s secretary Linda Brownlow told how the Friends of Wardsend Cemetery had shown what could be achieved with a little dedication.

Loxley Cemetery

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“We’re still very much in our infancy and starting to find our feet but I have Wardsend Cemetery in my vision when it comes to what we want to do here,” she said.

“The friends group there is making great progress, following a lot of hard work, and more and more people are coming to the guided tours to learn about its history.”

The group at Loxley, chaired by local historian Mick Drewry, is due to hold its first committee meeting this month and is still looking for new members.

It plans to carry out a major clean-up operation before holding regular events around three times a year to maintain the grounds for future generations.

Loxley Cemetery is home to many victims of the Great Flood, which claimed 240 lives in Sheffield, and it is the final resting place for 13 casualties of the two world wars, at least two of whom were just teenagers when they died.

The Grade II*-listed Loxley United Reformed Church, better known as Loxley Chapel, also stands within the grounds but is today a shell after being ravaged by fire in 2016.

The friends group was given permission to form by the site’s owner Mohammed Ali, who earlier this year announced plans to restore the church for use as a hostel and cafe, and to build a respite centre for disabled children within the grounds.

Ms Brownlow’s parents, Donald and Margaret Greenfield, and her brother, John Greenfield, are all buried at the cemetery.

“This should be a place of solace where people can go to remember their loved ones, and it’s a terrible shame that it’s been allowed to fall into such a state,” said the former school office manager, of Stannington.

“It would be nice if people didn’t have to think what tools they’re going to bring to clear their family’s graves every time they visit.

“It would also be good if it was easier for visitors to wander round the rest of the cemetery because I think there’s a beauty in graveyards. They’re not morbid places, they’re part of our history.”

For more information about joining the Friends of Loxley Cemetery, email loxley.secretary@yahoo.com.