Campaigners who are raising awareness of a Lancashire cemetery which includes the graves of asylum and hospital patients and military servicemen, are holding a guided tour this weekend.

The Friends of Calderstones & Brockhall Hospitals Cemeteries group is holding the event at the former Calderstones Hospital Cemetery, near Whalley, tomorrow, Saturday, from 2pm.

Visitors will also see military graves at the adjoining Queen Mary’s Military Hospital. The event coincides with a national project called Love Your Burial Ground, supported by churches and the Diocese of Blackburn.

It also follows a recent decision by the Bishop of Blackburn that a small portion of land at the hospital cemetery can be de-consecrated. Most of the land will keep its religions status and be restored.

The cemetery served the old hospital there from around 1915 to 2000. More than 1,100 people were buried there or had their ashes placed there over the years, it is understood.

But the site’s future status, plans by developers for a crematorium and car park, the site’s physical state in recent years and the controversial removal of many headstones, have been the focus of concerns by the friends’ group and also raised at Ribble Valley Council meetings.

Ribble Valley Cllr Mark Hindle, as mayor last year, raised the site’s condition  and people’s concerns a number of times. He emphasised the sensitive nature of the various issues.

Plans in recent years have been lodged for a new crematorium.

Campaigners say the war graves site is well-kept but the old hospital site, sold by the NHS around 20 years ago, is in poor condition. They want to safeguard and restore plots, where possible, and highlight the many stories of people laid to rest there.

Patients at the old Calderstones asylum included people with learning disabilities and women who became pregnant outside marriage.

Campaigners, like Jean Lord, say the former hospital’s history, like other institutions, highlights changing attitudes and society’s treatment of women, girls, pregnancy, sex outside marriage and adoption.

In May Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Rev Philip North, agreed one specific area can be de-consecrated. But the rest of the site will remain consecrated. He set strict conditions for its future to ensure the remembrance of people buried there. He also called for new landscaping, restoration works and a communal memorial and information boards explaining the site’s history.