Minister reassures residents over removal of stones from graveyard

A MINISTER has reassured concerned residents that work being carried out in the graveyard of a former church is part of a maintenance programme.

People living near the old Mount Zion Methodist Church, in Cornholme, began to get worried when they saw flagstone paths being ripped up and stones removed.

They feared that the church, which is no longer in use, was being vandalised.

But Rev Tony Buglass, superintendent of the Upper Calder Methodist Circuit, has explained that the stones have been removed so they can be repaired and then put back in place.

“It’s a proper programme of maintenance in tidying up and keeping the graveyard safe,” Rev Buglass said.

He said when a church closes, responsibility for maintaining the graveyard rests with the trustees of the circuit’s graveyard committee.

“I do know that they looked at it and saw that some of the stones needed to be taken away and have some work done to make it safe,” he said.

“That’s what is being done.

“We have had calls from local residents worried that some of the stones are being stolen.

“That has been happening in some places because it’s good quality Yorkshire stone and it’s expensive to buy.

“In this situation, we are very grateful that people are keeping an eye open and are asking questions when they see stones being removed.

“But in this case it’s work being done by an authorised contractor who is taking them away for work to be done to restore them.”