THE council has welcomed the launch of a new grave maintenance service by a Darwen friends group.

Under the new scheme, the Friends of Darwen Cemetery would carry out work to graves four times a year for a fee of £20.

Before the service can be signed up to, volunteers from the group will do a one-off clearance of the grave site, undertaking heavy work to ensure the grave is left in an easy to maintain state.

This will involve removing the top 5cm of soil and covering the grave space in weed control membrane and a layer of white stone chippings.

Blackburn with Darwen Council’s executive member for environment Coun Faryad Hussain said: “I think this is a very good idea from the Friends of Darwen Cemetery.

“It is innovative, will be a good affordable service for relatives and will help the group get income to continue its great work.

“We are fully supportive of it. By everyone working together we can make the borough a better place. The council no longer offers a perpetuity service and there is only a very few graves still maintained under this scheme.”