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'The Beautiful Burial Ground' conference, organised by the charity Caring for God’s Acre (CfGA), which supports the conservation of burials sites of all kinds, took place at Rydal Hall last week.

An array of organisations was represented, with a number of speakers giving talks and running workshops throughout the day. The Chairman of the conference was Revd. Chris Halliwell, Blackburn Diocesan Rural and Environmental Project Officer. Tommy Coulthard, from Watermillock described how over many years he had cared for his local churchyard at All Saints Church by managing the grassland as a flower rich meadow. Tim Viney of Atlantic Geomatics gave an enlightening presentation on innovations in burial ground management – Preserving the past and embracing the future where he described the work of Atlantic Geomatics in surveying burial sites using the latest equipment. Paul Evans of Buglife, David Redmore a landscape consultant and Jamie Normington from the Cumbrian Wildlife Trust were also involved in the conference, as were staff from Caring for God’s Acre.

People who attended appreciated all that the conference offered, as shown by comments made at the end of the day. A participant described that it had given them an excellent insight into community projects to help churchyard management and their heritage.

A grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund supported Caring for God's Acre (CfGA) to run the conference, which is part of a four year programme of work through a National Project, across England and Wales.

Caring for God's Acre champions the conservation of burial sites of all kinds, seeking grants to develop special projects which help deliver its work. It is a membership charity, which individuals and community groups are welcome to join. There is a helpful website at providing useful information on conservation management and the charity's activities. Caring for God’s Acre also runs a telephone and email helpline to provide advice and information on aspects of burial site conservation and interpretation.

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