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The chapel of rest at Wisbech General Cemetery has been officially reopened following major restoration work



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Around 100 trustees, members, friends and guests gathered at Wisbech General Cemetery, as Wisbech Society officially opened the site’s newly restored chapel of rest.

Wisbech Society trustees revealed a little of the cemetery’s history, before explaining the fundraising and restoration process.

The official opening of the chapel of rest at Wisbech General Cemetery. (8816493)
The official opening of the chapel of rest at Wisbech General Cemetery. (8816493)

The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded the Society £303,800 of funding in 2017, primarily for the chapel’s restoration, but also for improvements and repairs within the cemetery. Building work began in January 2018, for a successful conclusion that September.

The chapel of rest shrouded in scaffolding during the work. (8816034)
The chapel of rest shrouded in scaffolding during the work. (8816034)

For many years prior, the Friends of Wisbech General Cemetery had worked tirelessly, with occasional financial support from Wisbech Society, keeping the cemetery from the worst ravages of nature. Now the Friends and Society are working together more closely than ever, helping ensure the site’s availability for the enjoyment of future generations.

David Crouch treasurer and Ted Brand Architect while the work was in progress on the chapel of rest. (8816040)
David Crouch treasurer and Ted Brand Architect while the work was in progress on the chapel of rest. (8816040)

A key element in the opening ceremony saw relatives of some of those interred in Wisbech General Cemetery unveil a plaque commemorating the event. The oak plaque is in timber from an unsafe tree felled during the restoration process. Meanwhile, local choir Viva La Voce provided musical accompaniment.

The event also drew attention to the new www.wisbechgeneralcemetery.org website, established using HLF funding. As well as news and event notifications, it includes a searchable database of those buried in the cemetery. The official opening concluded with the launch of Wisbech General Cemetery 1836–2019, a revised, updated book based on an original publication from 1995.

Wisbech General Cemetery's chapel of rest before the renovation. (8816495)
Wisbech General Cemetery's chapel of rest before the renovation. (8816495)

With the indoor celebration complete, guests were invited to walk around the cemetery grounds, surveying the historic monuments and enjoying the site’s extraordinary wildlife, with Friends’ representatives on hand to answer questions and provide guidance. Refreshments, served back in the chapel, which now also features a kitchenette and accessible toilet, brought the afternoon to a close.

HLF funding will support the Wisbech General Cemetery project until 2020, after which it will become self- supporting. Wisbech Society launched a corporate appeal to this end in 2018, while the chapel is also available to hire. Details of the facility and its availability can be had from Lorena, on coordinator@wisbech-society.co.uk.

Picture of the work in progress at Wisbech General Cemetery. (8816015)
Picture of the work in progress at Wisbech General Cemetery. (8816015)

Copies of Wisbech General Cemetery 1836–2019 are available through the Wisbech Society website (www.wisbech-society.co.uk) at £5.00 each, plus £1.50 postage and packing. Individuals or organisations interested in contributing to the corporate appeal are invited to contact Wisbech Society treasurer David Crouch, on treasurer@wisbech-society.co.uk.



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