‘Angel’ Louise at centre of project

KENSINGTON and Fairfield councillor Louise Baldock spent eight hours volunteering at Deane Road Cemetery on Wednesday. Cllr Baldock has been one of the leading members of the Deane Road Cemetery committee for the last four years. Project chairman Saul Marks described her as “one of the main driving forces behind the project these days”.

He said: “She is a very good friend to the Liverpool Jewish community and works tirelessly for all sorts of interfaith projects. “She is an absolute angel. In the last year or two when I have had less time for the project, she has really driven it forward, despite the fact that she’s not Jewish. “It’s not just about her volunteering in terms of picking a few weeds. She is absolutely at the centre of the project. Without her the project would not succeed.”

Following last December’s successful almost £500,000 Heritage Lottery Fund bid, professional project manager Annette Birch, of Hebden Bridge, has been appointed, as has a firm of architectural consultants who will oversee the restoration work. This includes restoring the cemetery’s boundary walls, its Grade II listed entrance archway, gateposts, railings, re-laying the path, landscaping the garden and the building of a visitors’ centre where the ohel used to be. The funding will also cover re-erection of all the cemetery’s fallen tombstones. Mr Marks hoped that contractors would start work in October, although he said that much of the tombstone work could not be done till the spring because of possible frost damage. But he hoped that all the restoration work would be completed by the end of summer 2012. He plans a cemetery reconsecration service around September 3, 2012, which marks the 175th anniversary of the cemetery’s first burial. The cemetery project will by then have been in progress for almost 10 years with Mr Marks having been involved for the last seven.

The cemetery is currently being maintained by a number of volunteer groups, including the probation service, the Liverpool Youth Offending team, as well as from local churches and individuals. A Polish firm of local builders have also been helping out free of charge.

On Sunday (10am-3pm), the cemetery will have an open day for its Photography and Arts Project. The project resulted from the cemetery’s Heritage Lottery Fund bid, part of which was to attract various interest groups. The historical aspect of the cemetery has attracted the interest of artists and photographers. This will be the second opportunity for them to take pictures of the cemetery.