Campaign launched to help restore historic Harton Cemetery in South Shields - and how you can help
A councillor is appealing for volunteers to help make ‘dramatic improvements’ to a historic South Tyneside cemetery.
Independent councillor Glenn Thompson, who represents the Westoe ward in South Shields, has launched a bid to restore Harton Cemetery, on St George’s Avenue.
The Friends of Harton Cemetery group will support the council with general maintenance of the site and help carry out restoration work on the fallen headstones in the cemetery, which many residents have personal connections with.
Earlier this year, Coun Thompson set up the Friends of Readhead Park group, which was recently awarded £10,000 of funding from the Barbour Foundation to carry out major restoration work at the park.
Now he is hoping to see the same successes at Harton Cemetery.
“It’s a beautiful place and it’s not being taken advantage of,” said Coun Thompson.
“Everybody has a connection with the cemetery and I know that they are all behind the initiative. People would enjoy it more if it was in better condition.”
He continued: “There’s been a lot of cutbacks and resources are down to the bone, so there’s a lot of general maintenance that we can help with, but one of the main reasons for the group is the preservation of the old headstones which have fallen over or have been laid down.”
His other aim is to use the group as an opportunity to explore the history of the cemetery and chapel and to look into working with local schools to organise school trips to the site.
The cemetery’s department has allocated an area within Harton Chapel for tools and equipment, as well as an office and a welfare space to support the group.
Coun Thompson added: “It’s a long-term initiative and I’m hoping to find a group who have an interest in the cemetery and can help to build it over time.
“I’m sure it will be slow progress initially, but hopefully in time we could make dramatic improvements in this beautiful and historic cemetery which so many of us have family connections with.
“It’s not just a Westoe issue, it’s a town issue.”
For more information contact Coun Thompson on 07971 364221. Follow the Westoe Ward Facebook page for updates.