A group which has long fought for improvements to Dewsbury’s Victorian cemetery has begun the year with a fresh determination to bring about real change.
Dewsbury Cemetery Action Group doubled its membership with an influx of new recruits at its first meeting of 2014.
And through social networking sites it hopes to reach out to more people in the town who share its concerns.
New member Simon Reed said: “Until a couple of weeks ago I didn’t know the group existed.
“The first task is to get the name out there, get the message out there and get people involved.”
Many of the group’s members have family members buried in the cemetery – and most have seen first hand the problems resulting from vandalism, littering and youths drinking there.
Marie Breheney, who has been with the group for several years, said:
“You have people coming in, getting drunk and knocking the memorials over.
“It’s our loved ones who are there. It’s just heartbreaking.”
She said she was pleased to see a renewed interest in tackling the problems, particularly from younger people.
“It’s time to hand it over to the younger generation and be there to give some support,” she added.
The group has set up a Facebook page called Friends of Dewsbury Cemetery to find others who want to campaign to improve safety at the cemetery.
It has also started an online petition calling on Kirklees Council to make repairs to the cemetery’s derelict Grade II listed chapels for which it is responsible.
The council has previously said it has no money for repairs, but would support any community groups interested in applying for funding from other bodies such as the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Mr Reed, who joined the action group with his mum, said: “The chapels were the first thing that drew us to the group.
“I think this time we really need to go for it.”
The group’s next meeting is in the community meeting room at Asda in Dewsbury on Thursday February 27, 6pm for 6.30pm start.
Visit http://www.petitions24.com/save_the_dewsbury_cemetery_chapels to sign the petition.