St Mary’s Burston – Grave Concerns

St Mary’s Burston – Grave Concerns

Nestled within the conservation area at the heart of Burston is a hidden gem which many people drive or walk past daily. It caused a social media storm during the summer because it, along with several other similar sites, had been badly neglected; if you believed what was reported on local social media groups. Let me just put that reporting in context for you, if you haven’t recently walked around the churchyard I urge you to do so now, as a lot has changed in recent weeks and I hope to gain your support to continue with maintaining this final resting place for many of our villagers.

Burston’s population from the 2021 census is 582, of which 327 are aged 18-64 and 161 aged over 65; 52% Christian, 47% no religion. Why have I mentioned this? Because I am appealing for twenty people to commit to adopting just six headstones each. If you do the math that would be 120 headstones, the approximate number on the west side and rear of the church. Please note the word ‘headstones’ as grass cutting is a less important, although necessary, maintenance issue that will be dealt with separately.

During October the ‘Conservation Scheme Area’ was scythed and cleared. This part of the churchyard is left undisturbed as part of the Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s ‘saving Norfolk Wildlife for the Future’ scheme and as such has an abundance of primroses, wild flowers and grasses which proliferate through spring and summer. (Look for the plaque on the right of the path as you walk from the gate to the church porch.)

To the left of the path are more recent graves and this area is the one which needs more regular attention, especially on the boundary with the Strike School. This year most of these graves had become inaccessible and invisible, a fault which has now been rectified due to those remarks that struck a real chord with me; an incomer to the village. I thought that, like me, many residents might have tended their relatives’ graves before moving away or retiring here from another part of the country leaving that responsibility to someone else. Wouldn’t it be worthwhile to reciprocate this task here in our village? Perhaps our elderly residents dearly wish they were able to tend their loved one’s grave but ill health or frailty prevent them. This is where those 20 people could make a community commitment to help whilst enjoying fresh air, gentle exercise and the sounds of nature around them.

If you have a pair of garden shears, a soft brush and a little time on your hands to keep a few headstones visible please contact me, Angela Belgrove or telephone 01379 741534. If you regularly tend a grave and do not need this help, make contact and I will ensure the volunteers leave this to you to continue to do. Some of you may already know me through my work on the Parish Council as Litter Warden and with the Don Swanton award but this appeal is through my link as a regular member of St Mary’s congregation and member of the Parochial Church Council. I hope to hear from twenty of you soon.

Angela Belgrove.