The Friends of St Peter’s has been shortlisted for one of the first grants awarded by the Tesco ‘bags of help’ scheme for a seating project within the Rectory Lane Cemetery.
Customers in local Tesco stores will be invited to vote between 27th February and 6th March on three local projects for grants of £8k, £10k and £12k to enhance green spaces and be completed within 2016.
The project to be funded is the Seat of Remembrance situated in the centre of the Cemetery between the Memorial Arch and the Coopers family memorial. Volunteers from one of the regular working parties held each month found the back of a seat completely covered by undergrowth and later discovered the inscription ‘Seat of Remembrance’.
Research revealed that Mrs Lucy Ann Foot obtained permission in September 1934 in memory of her husband Brigadier Richard Mildmay Foot whose grave is in front of the seat. He died in October 1933, a highly decorated soldier of WW1 and the South African Wars. The permission states that the seat was to be of ‘red Mansfield stone and teak’. Foot was a keen breeder of Crufts winning red setters – hence the dogs and the stone colour.
£8,000 would re-instate the seat to how it was – including repairing the two masonry side-supports of the sculpted dogs described in the original design and clearing the area of tree roots.
£10,000 would allow us to a) extend the scheme to incorporate full restoration of the Foot headstone and area of paving connecting seat and grave b) produce a video of the restoration and connections with the Foot; Lucy Foot was a member of the Cooper family whose large memorial sits next to the Seat and who were the largest employers in Berkhamsted). We would record users of the seat/Cemetery to make a promotional piece for the website.
£12,000 would allow us to run a competition (in conjunction with bench designers and students undertaking the furniture making course at Buckinghamshire New University) for the replacement of the three vandalised metal benches in the Cemetery. We would create a brief to encourage submissions of three ‘seat sculptures’, with each bench bringing out a piece of the Cemetery’s history.
James Moir, Convener of the Rectory Lane Project said, “Restoring this wonderful seat would send a clear message to encourage people to visit or pass through. As well as local workers on their lunch break it would provide somewhere for visitors to sit and reflect. It will provide opportunities for people to be involved and for our ‘regulars’ at the first Sunday of the month working parties it would be an iconic point at which to congregate at the beginning of the sessions and during it.
At present the only seating is in the lower cemetery (3 metal benches) and in the research that FOSP conducted in the summer of 2014 better seating came up as a high priority.
For more information check out the Tesco official website here: www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp
Notes to editors
About The Friends of St Peter’s
Launched in 2013 it is a Registered Charity (Registered Charity Number 1160314). The Friends encourage a wider appreciation of the church and its churchyards as a rich store of local and architectural history. Together with the Cowper Society they are responsible for the management of concerts, recitals and other events in St Peter’s Church. They organise social and fund-raising events and act as a focus and resource for all who are interested in the continuing history of our town. The Friends provide an opportunity for individuals, families, local institutions and businesses to become involved in the care and conservation of this irreplaceable heritage.
FOSP gratefully acknowledges the support of the Big Lottery and the Heritage Lottery Fun.
Friends of St Peters: Elaine Mercer 07866118749 firstname.lastname@example.org or
Dr James Moir 07545 786372