The Friends of the Great Yarmouth Cemeteries is an independent voluntary organisation initiated in 2013 as part of the Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust’s Cemeteries Project. For information about this brilliant project, please have a look at the Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust website, Cemeteries Project.
The Friends work in partnership with Great Yarmouth Borough Services to care for and enhance the churchyard at Great Yarmouth Minster and the two cemeteries either side of Kitchener Road, a much beloved green space in the centre of Great Yarmouth. Membership is open to all, with an annual subscription fee of £5.00. As at November 2016, there are 50 members.
A new mowing regime was agreed with GYB Services in 2014, based on a full wild flower survey undertaken by Mark Webster of The Conservation Volunteers. Interpretation panels were installed to explain the regime and provide information about plots set aside for spring and summer flowering plants.
Funding from The Chestnut Fund was awarded to the Friends in the form of a small start-up grant and for support and guidance in biodiversity management provided by Mark Webster from The Conservation Volunteers. Two small Ward Grants were given to the group in 2015 to buy tools and to print a map marking out the most interesting graves and monuments.
The Friends meet every first Saturday of the month to work in the Cemeteries. They meet at 10 am at the north (second) chapel in the New Cemetery, on the north side of Kitchener Road and usually work for about 2hrs, some members less.
Apart from clearing graves of invasive vegetation, mainly ivy, brambles and sycamore saplings, activities have included the installation of bird nesting boxes made by Year 5 pupils at St. Nicholas Priory Junior School. In early January 2015 the Friends installed another 30 of the total of 100 bird boxes produced by the pupils! Also in February 2014, the working party planted saplings donated by TCV around the green waste dump to screen the area and provide cover and food for the birds.
Other events organised over the year include Community Litter Picks, Plant and Seed Swaps, Guided Tours, visits to other cemeteries.
All those in the working team have commented on how enjoyable and rewarding it is to work together in this interesting and amazingly extensive green space in the centre of town. Anybody interested is very welcome to join us for a morning to see what we do.
The Friends also have a Facebook page, Friends of Great Yarmouth Cemeteries, where photographs of some of the graves may be found.