Since 2004, Friends of Stockport Cemeteries has been working to bring about effective long lasting improvements within the cemeteries of Stockport. As well as organising accompanied walks and talks for schools and local community groups, they host a number of open days and events within the cemeteries.
Every year, the group hosts a weekend-long event for Remembrance Week at Willow Grove Cemetery. This old Victorian Cemetery is steeped in local and military history with 148 Military buried from both World Wars, 122 of these are from the First World War.
These events give everyone involved – organisers, participants and visitors – an opportunity to learn about the sacrifices that local people made during this period. They learnt about the overall impact that the war had on people’s lives, what it was like for families left at home and discovered more about the people who made the ultimate sacrifice giving their lives. The event also helped to raise awareness of the similar sacrifices made by the armed forces and their families today.
These annual events provide an opportunity to introduce this historical site to the rest of the community and highlight the valuable work achieved by the various organisations.
Since 2006 Willow Grove Cemetery has attracted volunteers from the local community who have come along to support Friends of Stockport Cemeteries. The Community Pay Back Team also has a regular input within this cemetery to help keep up with general maintenance, as have the 1804 Air Squadron Cadets who help clean war graves, plant flowers and bulbs, and help collate information of military family graves.
The cemetery now plays a vital role not only in the social structure of the community but in the local biodiversity of this built up area. It provides an easily accessible local green space which offers opportunities for peace, tranquility and quiet reflection.