Letter from Graham E Livings, 26th August 2016 to the Editor of the Independent
I wish to rebut vehemently the assertion (i: 23 August 'Why the dead are posing a grave problem'.) Contemporary society not worth the salt if we abrogate a 'sacred' responsibility for our burial grounds. I readily acknowledge abdication the apostolic responsibility of the institutions of the church; likewise mourn the passing of the clergy of our youth. I bear witness to the retention of many a 'redundant' church here in Somerset and the scandal of the NHS in 2000 to dispose for 'development' the 'sacred' cemetery of the former Bath & Somerset Asylum, Wells; secured for posterity. It could well be secular society no regards for the deceased; I don't accept that's true.
Local government to which much of the legislation's devolved a functionary agenda item. We have only to reflect on the renowned Arnos Vale Cemetery, Bristol www.arnosvale.org.uk and the extraordinary stewardship of the Smiths and 'friends' of that sacred place. There is never an epitaph to a committee, more so in my experience a local authority committee.
Consequent on the Smiths and 'friends' resolve at Arnos Vale the attempt of the NHS to sell at auction the former Mendip Hospital Cemetery for development, individuals emerged and some 16 years later The Friends of Mendip Hospital Cemetery, a registered charity can walk tall in the dedication and stewardship to that sacred place wherein some 3,000 interred.
Can I exhort your correspondent and readers to consider taking on those 'abandoned' cemeteries of which many replicated across the country. The National Federation of Cemetery Friends www.cemeteryfriends.com a 'bench' mark charity embracing those like-minded individuals as would the 'trustees' of Friends of Mendip Hospital Cemetery www.mendiphospitalcemetery.org.uk.
Graham E Livings
Trustee: Friends of Mendip Hospital Cemetery
Wells: 01749 675720