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Royal Honour for Churchyard Task Team

1st August 2018

Eleven years ago Caring for God’s Acre set up the Churchyard Task Team to undertake practical conservation work across South Shropshire and Herefordshire. Since then the team has gone from strength to strength and has undertaken an amazing 30,000 hrs of conservation work in local burial grounds.

This June the team received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary service, which is considered the equivalent of the MBE for volunteer groups.

This is a huge honour for the volunteers who generously give up their time every week. The team has helped sites be managed in a way that reflects the views and sensitivities of the local people. while at the same time preserving the old memorials and making them special spaces for wildlife.

Here are a few words from our volunteers:

Martin Garland has been a volunteer since the early days
“In that time I’ve met and worked with a remarkable bunch of like-minded-people, who want to get involved in countrywide work, like scything and hedge-laying.  These are just some of the skills I’ve learned. It’s always rewarding to see, over time, how a seemingly sterile burial ground can become an oasis of wildflowers and wildlife. It has been a most enjoyable time.”

Paul Rogers joined the team in 2016
“I have never looked back and most weeks will be found in a Shropshire village corner amongst the gravestones. I tend to volunteer to learn new skills and now feel confident will scythe which must be true as my colleagues no longer give me a wide berth when I am in action.”

Tony Newbury joined in 2017
“You get to see some very beautiful churchyards, have interesting conversations in a relaxed atmosphere, surrounded by wildlife. Volunteering at its best.”

Conservation of burial grounds is about active management, not neglect. The work of the volunteers has transformed many sites. Leaving them better managed, with increased value to wildlife whilst looking more attractive to visitors.

We would like to thank the Jean Jackson Trust for generously supporting the Team and also the AllChurches Trust for recently providing a grant for tools.

Visit here to find out more about the team and how you can get involved.