Historic Wisbech cemetery is given a facelift by young people

General Cemetery Wisbech, Clear up. The clean up team. Picture: Steve Williams. General Cemetery Wisbech, Clear up. The clean up team. Picture: Steve Williams.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014
9:23 AM

A cemetery in Wisbech, that was one of just a handful in the country for non religious burials, is being preserved for future generations.

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General Cemetery Wisbech, Clear up. Left: Rosie Abbott, Chiedza Lunga. Picture: Steve Williams.General Cemetery Wisbech, Clear up. Left: Rosie Abbott, Chiedza Lunga. Picture: Steve Williams.

The overgrown cemetery, which was set up in the mid 19th century, is being treated to a major facelift by young people from across Cambridgeshire who are pulling back brambles and cutting back bushes to clear the way for people to enjoy the peaceful setting.

The cemetery in North End became redundant after the Second World War. It is the burial ground for many Wisbech non conformists who rebelled against the idea of being laid to rest in a traditional church setting.

Wisbech Society treasurer David Crouch said: “Wisbech has quite a history of dissenters and rebels.

“Having a cemetery with no religious connection was quite an unusual thing at that time, but it’s not surprising really that Wisbech should be one of the towns that had such a thing.

General Cemetery Wisbech, Clear up.Spencer Cunnington clearing the weeds.Picture: Steve Williams.General Cemetery Wisbech, Clear up.Spencer Cunnington clearing the weeds.Picture: Steve Williams.

“There is also a non denominational chapel which is going to ruin but we hope to get funding to put the roof back on and preserve it.”

The make-over work is being carried out by around 16 teenagers as part of the National Citizenship scheme, many of whom have links to the College of West Anglia.

There has been funding from the Heritage Lottery project and support from Fenland District Council as well as the Friends of the Cemetery and from Wisbech Society benefactor Basil Lambert.

Mr Lambert was the last person to be buried in the graveyard in the 1990s under a special dispensation ruling that allowed him to be buried alongside his parents.

General Cemetery Wisbech, Clear up. Ore Fakeye clearing the weeds. Picture: Steve Williams.General Cemetery Wisbech, Clear up. Ore Fakeye clearing the weeds. Picture: Steve Williams.

He was a major benefactor to many groups in the town including the Wisbech Society and Peckover House.

Mr Crouch said: “Once the pathway is cleared we will call it Lambert’s Walk in his memory.”

The work is scheduled to take about a week after which it will be maintained by the Friends of the Cemetery.

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