A WOMAN who has relatives buried in a neglected graveyard wants to set up a committee to keep the grounds tidy.
Diane Hughes is unhappy that the Christchurch cemetery in Ellesmere Port, which contains the bodies of First World War soldiers, has become overgrown again.
In February when researching her family tree she was delighted to discover she has family members buried at the Worcester Street graveyard.
But when Mrs Hughes went down there she was dismayed by the state of the area.
A dispute, which began in 2005, continues over who is responsible for the upkeep of the graveyard, which is owned by Ellesmere Port YMCA.
Chief executive Dave Pearson said when the charity agreed to take over the building they were assured by the Church Commissioners that the borough council would look after the grounds.
But the Diocese of Chester said it was the responsibility of YMCA while the borough council said it was no longer its duty.
In the end, West Cheshire Probation Service agreed its young offenders would step in to keep the graveyard clean and tidy but six months ago it could no longer continue maintaining the grounds due to a shortage of supervisors.
Mr Hughes, who lives in Ellesmere Port, said: ‘When I tried to locate the graves of my greatgrandparents and at least five of their grandchildren I found the burial plots had gone adrift and then to my dismay found the grounds in such a state it gave me great cause for concern.
‘Therefore I would be interested in getting a committee together and to hear from people who have relatives buried in the grounds belonging to what was once the spiritual heart of the old Ellesmere Port.
‘Although I am unable to take a hands-on role to clean the graveyard because I have to look after my disabled husband, I would be willing to make calls to try and find funding or to get businesses to support us.
‘If someone was willing to donate equipment I’m sure we could get a group together to cut the grass and keep the graveyard tidy.’
Derek and Sarah Holmes from Chester said they would be willing to be part of a committee after visiting the graveyard last week.
Mrs Holmes has been researching her family tree and believes she may have relatives buried there. It was also the church where her grandparents were married.
She said: ‘I was really shocked by the state of the grounds. We would definitely be interested in getting involved.
‘If we could find someone who would be willing to provide equipment we could keep the graveyard clean and tidy.’
If you are interested in forming a committee you can e-mail Diane Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org.