Sunday, 31 May 2020

Family use daily lockdown exercise to clean strangers’ gravestones


Family use daily lockdown exercise to clean strangers’ gravestones

The second of the good news lock-down stories to feature an historic angle and so make it on to this blog involves a place that some people can find rather morbid but which I (and, I suspect, many of my readers) find endlessly fascinating - a graveyard.

For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed strolling round graveyards - whenever I have found myself passing through one - and reading some of the more ancient gravestones.  Attempting to make out the inscriptions on these 100+ year-old markers is often part of the challenge and again I can always remember feeling a pang of sadness that, for whatever reason, the person - and more importantly the life - of the individual had been forgotten or was unable to be marked for a very long period of time.

For it is the life, the one-time existence, of the individual that a gravestone marks - "Here Lies" is often the start of what is a eulogy in stone, the marking of a life lived, however short or long, the last physical representation of a human being long since vanished.  It is also, as the articles mention, an act of remembrance by subsequent generations for whom an inscribed stone at the graveside can help promulgate memories of the deceased and so ensure they continue to live on in others.  It is maybe for these reasons that I feel that measure of despondency when I see neglected gravestones and I am delighted to see from this article that I am not alone. 


Winsford gravestones cleaned in lockdown good turn 

What makes this instance even better is that the gentleman involved is in a position to make a professional job of bringing back some of the more weather-beaten examples in his local churchyard, being as he runs a local cleaning company.  That it was something he could still do during lock-down, and get his young family involved, is a wonderful bonus.  Indeed he is to be roundly commended for his attitude and especially his thoughts about the benefits to his children, local history and the environment - in fact I couldn't have put it better myself!

So a hearty "well done!" to Mr van Emmenis and his family; I see that he is now working with the vicar of the church to continue cleaning selected gravestones and long may he keep doing so.

1 comment:

Don't just sit there, type something! I enjoy reading all comments.


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