Loxley Cemetery has a number of war graves and is the final resting place of people who died in the Great Flood of 1864, which claimed at least 240 lives.
But the grounds have become badly overgrown in recent years and the Grade II*-listed Loxley United Reformed Church, better known as Loxley Chapel, remains a shell after the 18th century building was gutted by fire in 2016.
A friends group is officially being launched this weekend at the cemetery, as campaigners step up efforts to tidy up the burial place in the picturesque Loxley Valley and get the crumbling chapel restored.
The Friends of Loxley Cemetery’s founders will be there this Saturday, August 10, from 10am to 3.30pm, trying to sign up new members to join their crusade. They will be joined by historians describing the site’s storied past.
Stannington ward councillor Penny Baker, who is helping to launch the friends group, said: “There are people from the Great Flood buried there, and there are war graves too, and there’s interest from across Sheffield, not just the local area.
“As far as I know it’s the only active private cemetery in the whole of the city, but it’s a bit of a mess at the moment.
“We want to bring it back to being a peaceful and respectful place where people can visit their ancestors and find the graves which are currently hidden by vegetation.
“We need to raise some money for tools and the first job will be to clear the paths to the graves so people can get to them and maintain them.”
The friends group is being launched after the site’s owner, Mohammed Ali, gave his permission.
Mr Ali recently announced plans to restore the chapel and convert it to a hostel and cafe, with rooms for use by the community.
He also wants to build a respite centre for disabled children within the grounds, which would be named in memory of his late niece.
Initial plans have been drawn up and his architect Steve Burlaga, of AXIS Architecture, said the proposals were developing, with talks taking place with potential operators for the hostel.
The main entrance to the cemetery is off Loxley Road, but campaigners say this is so overgrown that visitors should instead access it this weekend from Long Lane.
Anyone is welcome to attend on Saturday, and those who are unable to make it can email [email protected] for more information.