It started with Alfie Taylor, a villager, looking in St Michael’s graveyard for his brother’s grave.  The brother, who was born before Alfie, was also called Alfie and passed away as a baby.  He was run over at 13 months old by a dustbin lorry in 1936, and he is buried in the small patch just beyond the graveyard wall where a group of other babies and children are buried.  Alfie was struggling to get to the grave because of the overgrown holly bush, and Karen Morris, a project leader at Holmescarr Community Centre, saw this and arranged for 2 of the gardening volunteers, John and Kevin, to help him cut it back.  Alfie’s family Julie and Steve Morris, and their friends Donna  Marshall and Christopher Shackshaft joined with them and thought they were helping to reveal a few babies’ graves.  Other volunteers helped to clear many bags of holly and weeds and, from St Michael’s records, the archivist, Ken, showed them that there were up to 24 little ones in the piece of land.  DMBC staff have assisted with moving the cuttings and debris, and 2 villagers are arranging the placing of a stone with a commemorative plaque.  Some were buried anonymously because their families were poor, but the work has revealed a full grave memorial and small headstones, as well as some pots for flowers with names on them.  Families, and the congregation of St Micheal’s have visited to view the work, and John, one of the volunteers, brought his daughter to see it and placed flowers on the area.  Julie and Donna visited local shops to purchase extra things to mark the area, and the shopkeepers gave, or promised, some of these for free.  Donna has set up a fund-giving page to help to maintain the area that is to be created as a memory garden, and a local garden centre has promised a seat, so people will be able to use the space to sit peacefully near to their relatives.  The page for donations is called St Michael’s Little Angels.  Truly, a community project.

 

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