THE chairman of the Friends of Darwen Cemetery says the group has achieved ‘amazing’ things in a short space of time.

John East gave a progress report to members of the group during their annual meeting at Darwen Academy.

He pointed out achievements such as new granite maps, the grave maintenance scheme, a new ‘Muck Truck’ and the recently-announced First World War memorial trench project.

He told members: “We said goodbye to secretary Rosemary Jackson and a great appreciation to Peter Van Dijk who took over.

“Our president, Col Steve Davies, has driven the First World War project and, along with a small working party, is confident of a successful Heritage Lottery Fund bid.

“The footfall at the cemetery has certainly increased with more visitors caring for graves and supporting the friends.

“The website bring lots of hits and folk interested in the work that goes on with stories and information helpful to distant parties.

“All this in our short period time as a group has been amazing and we and the people of Darwen have demonstrated that a community can and does care for its cemetery and we look forward to another challenging and exciting year.

“I must commend the dedication, enthusiasm, passion and time that many of the friends have offered the cemetery. It must add up to many hundreds of man hours and volunteering time.”