A fundraiser to support volunteers looking to breathe new life into neglected Farsley Rehoboth Burial Ground has so far netted more than £2,800.
Over the past two years volunteers have been working hard to transform the overgrown and inaccessible burial grounds, off Coal Hill Lane, and make them more accessible after 11 years of no legal public access.
Between January and October 2021 the Friends of Farsley Rehoboth group has held 139 volunteer work sessions, attracting 1,469 volunteer attendees who have given up 6,607 hours of their time. This is despite the enforced and necessary restrictions and closures due to Covid-19.
Volunteers are transforming sections of the two-acre site with new plant life, bird habitats and water supplies to combat the effects of climate change, and have mapped and preserved trees and plant life, which will be monitored and documented each year.
Skills within the Rehoboth team range from the restoration of memorials, rebuilding 150 year old walls, family and military research, excavation, non invasive foliage management – all carried out by unpaid volunteers.
The charity has now been selected by the Aviva Community Fund for the next fundraising campaign for public donations and donations from Aviva employees.
Rehoboth has been selected for the match funding initiative from the Aviva Climate Fund, which will match all individual donations up to £50 in value. the Friends’ Francine Barker wrote in the fundraiser:
“We are focussing on the restoration and rebuilding of graves, securing the ecological balance by utilising 30 months of experience in developing Infrastructure creating all weather accessible paths and tracks and stepped paths that preserve the steep slopes from erosion. We are halfway through installing 250 grave markers with personalised plaques to mark the many graves that do not have any identification.
“We have introduced an electricity supply from the National Grid to provide lighting, a Wi-Fi hub for better access to the QR stations, for audio visual projections during tours and cameras to record wildlife activity.”
Supporter Louise Peatfield wrote:
“Your cause comes from the heart, showing respect to the environment and to loved ones passed. Well done!”
The Aviva campaign runs throughout November and people can find out more and donate here.
The Farsley Rehoboth Baptist Burial Ground was a place of internment from 1785 to 2000 and reflected the growth of Farsley, Leeds and in particular its textile industry with many prominent residents buried there.
In total there are circa 4,000 local people from Farsley, Rodley and Pudsey interred in the Rehoboth, all with their own histories and contribution to the growth and history of Farsley.
Work started with the purchase of the Rehoboth on 31 May 2019 and has progressed with over 17,900 volunteer hours dedicated to reclaiming this historic site, situated on a steep wooded hillside.
Who do you think you are ?
Do you want to know your ancestors, or just curious to know about local history. The Friends’ new website has a database of 4,000 people buried in Farsley Rehoboth that you can access.