In with the New!

Are any of your new year’s resolutions to clear brambles and invasive species from old meadow land?

Chances are they’re not! But a few years back, that was just what the Friends of Heene Cemetery’s (FoHC) volunteers and supporter set out to do. And it’s led to some great outcomes for the local community in Worthing!

The site has flourished as an urban ‘green space’, home to many species of flora and fauna alike, and access to the headstones has allowed researchers to learn about the people who’ve been buried there.

2020 did bring challenges. Lockdowns have led to less access to the cemetery, slowing the team’s progress. And social distancing has impacted how they can interact. 

Reflecting on this, Sue Standing, FoHC’s Chairperson, says: “…we would have finished working and sat under the trees, with a coffee and biscuits to chat over what we’d have done and discuss what we would like to do next – great for building relationships and bouncing ideas off one another. But that has not been possible since February 2020.”

But, she says, “a new year brings fresh energy!” And the vaccine rollout brings hope. So we’ve asked some of the volunteering team to share their new year’s resolutions for this site of conservation importance. Here’s what they said. 

Opening Up

Treasurer, Helen Stirling, says that this year she’ll be focused on “maintaining the cemetery to encourage indigenous species. The cemetery is a haven for local wildlife and a peaceful spot to visit, when we are allowed to open.”

Picture Perfect

Rob Tomlinson has been one of those involved in photographing 270 of the 347 species living in the cemetery that you can see on this website. He became involved to take photographs of the species that were being identified so they could be used on the website. He says his top priority in 2021 is “to take better photographs of some of the species … and to take photographs of those species we haven’t yet.”

Personal Challenge

Angela Levy, researcher, helps to document the lives of people buried at Heene. She’s challenging herself in 2021 to “personally complete 100 case histories.” She says that her work with Heene has taught her “to be scrupulously accurate in recording my findings. History needs to be trusted!”

Giving back!

And although she hasn’t been able to join the volunteering team yet, Fran Garrett has been a long-time supporter of Heene Cemetery, which played a central role in her childhood. She says, “I used to go there all the time as a child to watch nature and talk to the ‘inhabitants’”. She says: “I try to donate small amounts when I can and support events.” And at the top of her wish list for Heene in 2021 is “for the pandemic to end so that I can actually get my hands dirty and help out this year!” 

Help out Heene Cemetery, an urban green space in the heart of Worthing this year! 

Find out more about ways to volunteer,make a donation or make a membership enquiry on our website. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Are any of your new year’s resolutions to clear brambles and invasive species from old meadow land?

Article developed by Cindy D’Roza-Mortimer, Volunteer Communications Consultant