THE Friends of Darwen Cemetery are calling on the council for greater teamwork in mowing the grass and cutting back weeds to make the graves more accessible for families to visit.

Yesterday, the council carried out their first grass cutting of the year at the old cemetery off Bolton Road.


John East, chairman of the Friends, said he was monitoring the issue as concern had been raised about the height of the grass.

"It makes access to family graves more difficult when the grass is 18ins to 2ft high. We do try to remind the council that it's a civic responsibility but it's a difficult balance as they have lost staff," he said.

The grass in the cemetery, which opened in 1861, gets cut by the council three times a year and the Friends do other maintenance work all year round.

Cllr Jim Smith, executive member for Environment, said: “Ensuring our parks, cemeteries and open spaces look the best they can be is of great importance to me and this council. The grass at Darwen old cemetery is cut three times a year and it is currently being cut.”

The Friends are planning to put in a £100,000 bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund in the next few weeks to create a grave trail and mock trench to commemorate the centenary of Darwen's war dead.

The cemetery contains 98 war graves, including 70 from World War One. The Friends want to create a large granite mock trench which could be used an an outdoor activity and learning space to encourage younger visitors to the cemetery.

The sides of the mock trench will have granite plaques to commemorate individual soldiers who died during the war and there will also be a firing step to be used as a step for quiet reflection.

Friends of Darwen Cemetery president Colonel Steve Davies said: "I am wanting us to be constructing by late September/October, my own personal thoughts are that with a fair wind we should be allocated the money!"