Houghton cemetery is a fun day out for everyone

Colin Jarvis dressed in 1855 church sexton uniform at Hill side Cemetery Open day.
Colin Jarvis dressed in 1855 church sexton uniform at Hill side Cemetery Open day.
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VISITORS enjoyed a historic open day with a difference – at a cemetery.

Friends of Hillside Cemetery hosted the event to reveal the secrets of the old burial ground in Houghton, which was opened in the 18th century.

Dozens of people flocked through the gates, some whom had never seen inside the cemetery’s walls, despite living nearby for years.

They were treated to guided tours by volunteers in period costume, displays of information and photographs and other activities.

Colin Jarvis, a Friend of the cemetery, said: “We told them all about the history and why the cemetery was built.

“People who have lived in Houghton and the surrounding area all their lives got in there and said they had never been in there before.

“It really shows people that it is there and what we are doing.”

The Friends formed in 2003 because of concerns that the local landmark was falling into disrepair and was being targeted by vandals.

The group started doing regular litter-picks, to keep the cemetery free from rubbish and dog mess.

National Lottery funding paid for restoration work, which began in the summer of 2006, a year after the grounds were officially closed for burials.

The Friends oversaw the cemetery’s lychgate archway being restored and two years later made sure the vault of nobleman Willam Standish Standish was re-sealed after being targeted by vandals.

The open day raise £250, which will go towards future projects which the Friends group has planned.

Twitter: @janethejourno