St Mary's Churchyards...
St Mary's has two Churchyards; 'The Old Churchyard which is joined to the Church building south of Manor/Church Road and our Churchyard extension which is over the road on land generously gifted by SKF a company which was until recently a major employer in Sundon Park.
The Old Churchyard...
The old Churchyard at St Mary's twenty years ago was like many ancient Churchyards very overgrown and neglected despite heroic efforts of some of the congregation; three or four hours a week trying to tame the grass was never going to do the job. Old memoirs and accounts recall the cutting of grass a little like hay making and despite successive requests from the pulpit there was no one able to take on the challenge with the time needed to make an impact.
Then in 2002 Brian Wood came forward and made it very much a labour of love to tame this wilderness.
Our Churchyard was for ten years maintained entirely through the voluntary work of Brian. He was often to be found working in the grounds and we are all very grateful for his work. Sadly in April 2013 Brian lost his long struggle with cancer. The PCC and congregation of St Mary's will always appreciate Brian's efforts and are committed to try and maintain the Old Churchyard as a testament to his volunteering ethos. There is a fund for the Churchyard to help with tools and materials to ensure that this work is able to continue. If you wish to help with a donation towards these ever increasing costs please contact John Copley (the PCC Churchyard representative) or the Church Wardens.
The Churchyard Extension
Towards the end of the last century it was realised that the old Churchyard was just about full. There are now no new spaces left only room for ashes internments on existing family plots. SKF very generously obtained the land over from the Church and donated it to the Parish. Neville’s the undertakers in Sundon Park were also very generous in their help to get the area ready to become our new Churchyard.
The land was consecrated on 1st May 2003.
The work was completed and the first body was intered in July 2004.
A photo from the tower looking over the Churchyard in June 2014. Many thanks to Mr Rattigan who maintains the grass and to the residents of the village who look after the hedges and verges. All the work is volunteered and the PCC and congregation are very grateful for all the effort they put in to keeping it looking tidy.
In this photograph you can also make out the areas marked out which were left uncut to allow wild flowers to develop. This year we had a very successful evening in June when experts came out to talk visitors through what could be seen especially the Bee Orchids which were doing very well. This will be repeated in different areas each year in the vacant spaces in the Churchyard.
One of our Bee Orchids…