NEWS - 2023

Below you will find news articles from Jan 2023 to December 2023

January 2023

Photos of the Cemetery on a snow-covered morning in January, allow us to compare the relative neglect and abandonment of the Calderstones Cemetery and its 1172 former patients and staff, with the rightly well-maintained, cared for, and respected graves of the 33 military personnel buried in the Queen Mary's Military Hospital section; all of whom, died so much earlier than their Calderstones neighbours.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission continues to  respect and carefully maintain the graves of the military personnel, supported by the local British Legion, which every November organises a memorial service, attended by local religious and civic representatives. The Remembrance service as it is known, begins with a parade and accompanied march-past in the Calderstones Hospital grounds, before it proceeds to the Cemetery a quarter of a mile away.

Unfortunately, the graves in the Calderstones section are no longer cared for and respected, on the contrary, they have been abandoned and neglected by the current and previous owners of the Cemetery. Currently, there is no religious or secular remembrance service for these former patients and staff, who appear to have been perhaps unintentionally  erased from the memory and responsibility of the authorities who previously cared for them.

The photos demonstrate the contrast in society's care for the two different groups, and visitors are left to ask- Why? 

Constance Clements, Leonard Platt and James Hannett Grave

Entrance to the Graveyard- between the Booth Hall babies.

Geoffrey Tebb and Joseph Tetlow Grave

 The Calderstones Cemetery section

RC graves to left 

Approaching the QMMH section


QMMH Memorial Cross

Leaving the QMMH section

Crossing the divide between the two

Looking back to the QMMH section

 Geoffrey and Joseph in the shade 

There's Alfred and Emily, Denis and the two John's, Donald and Arthur, next to Albert and Edith before you get to Tommy Smith's hidden grave..............

Where are their gravestones?

The Booth Hall babies

February 2023


Committee members recently met Councillor David Berryman whose constituency includes the Calderstones Cemetery and had the opportunity to discuss the history and possible future of the Cemetery with him. There was general agreement that this was a positive meeting in which the Friends produced supportive evidence to support their  account of the history and possible options for the future, while detailing the current access problems and on-going contact with Lancashire County Council, which Councillor Berryman was already aware of. The meeting ended with the expectation of a follow-up meeting with other council members once Councillor Berryman has had the opportunity to check the information he was give with other councillors and officers


At the request of the University which had discovered information about the Cemetery on our website, Friends were invited to provide a zoom presentation to the "British Cemeteries" group on 1st February which was well-received by a national rather than local audience who quickly discovered the uniqueness of the Calderstones situation and were fascinated to see the seeming "apartheid" which exists in the treatment of two groups of deceased people. Speaking to people with experience of cemetery history and maintenance arrangements across the country, it was useful to understand what they perceived as being so unique about the Calderstones Cemetery. The fact that it is a consecrated site which has never been owned by the Church, it's  established and continuing association with the well-managed QMMH section, and the seemingly inexplicable sale or transfer arrangements, were highlighted. Since the presentation we have had further applications to join the Friends and for those members who are particularly interested, we will arrange to send a copy of he 50 minute presentation.

Peter Francis Jones - Brockhall Cemetery

5-year-old Peter died in Brockhall Hospital in 1941 and his brother Jeff who is a member of the Friends has been trying to arrange for a memorial to be erected after the grave was located- see note September 2022. Jeff has provided a photo of Peter and written a short note about him and his parents which readers will find interesting and informative, especially about the reasons why some people were admitted to the Hospital.

Further meeting with Councillors

Representatives of the Friends Committee, met with local councillors at the Old Grammar School in Whalley on 24th February. The meeting was arranged by Heather Birch as a follow-up to the earlier meeting we had with Councillor David Berryman and proved to be productive. Councillor Berryman who represents the Netherwood constituency in which the Hospital and the Cemetery are both situated, was joined by Councillor Mark Hindle, who represents the Whalley constituency, and Gerald Mirfit who is a Lancashire County Councillor representing the Whalley constituency.

The Friends were able to provide a detailed history of the Cemetery, much of which the councilors were already aware of and mentioned some of the current issues around access and the Right of Way, which seem particularly relevant as the the Mersey Care NHS Trust prepares to transfer the stewardship and management of the Hospital site to the Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Trust. Coincidentally, Councillor Hindle had recently met senior representatives of the new Trust and was able to give a reassuring account of his first impressions from that meeting. The Friends have already made informal and formal requests to meet Mr Chris Davies, the Trust's CEO, or his representatives, to introduce our group and discuss future arrangements for the Cemetery, we look forward to an early meeting 

MARCH 2023 - The First Locks of Remembrance

An early Springtime visit

The Power Point Presentation

The 45 minute presentation named the History of the Calderstones Cemetery which was created for the University of the Third Age has been further developed and circulated among committee members who may use the film in discussions with different groups over the coming months. A cop of the Presentation is available to all members on request.

Contact with the new NHS Trust

Later this year, Mersey Care, the current NHS Trust managing the former Calderstones Hospital site who have generously maintained keyholder responsibilities allowing access to the usually locked Cemetery will leave the site and be replaced by the Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Trust. Unlike the Mersey Care Trust, Lancashire and South Cumbria will use the site for the provision of psychiatric services, and will have no connection with the services currently provided at the Mitton Road site.

The Friends are keen to establish early contact with representatives of the incoming Trust to discuss the ongoing connection with the Cemetery and the future arrangements in respect of keyholding. We are pleased to have made contact with Joanna Stark who is he Assistant Strategy Officer at the Trust and look forward to a meeting with Joanna and her staff at the end of April or early May when the Power Point presentation about the History of the Calderstones Cemetery will be shown.

Good news for Jeff Jones

After over a year of patiently waiting for some official response to his request to erect a memorial ay the grave of his brother Peter in Brockhall Cemetery, Jeff finally got permission thanks to the personal intervention of Nigel Evans MP and the decision was then confirmed by HDAK who are the management company responsible for the former Brockhall hospital site and the Cemetery. Jeff has already been in touch with Maria Evans for advice on a memorial and is also in touch with Sheila who is looking for similar permission to erect a memorial to her relative, Tom Newell.

Alfred Storton - a further finding

While researching other records, a copy of a 1923 admission report in respect of Alfred's admission to the Whalley Asylum was found at the Lancashire Archives. The record which has been copied and transcribed is available alongside Alfred's other notes in the People who are buried in the Cemetery,

We learn a lot more about what Alfred was like aged 10, with details of his weight height head circumference and hair any eye colour, but we also learn what he could not do, and the perfunctory assessments which were used to assess, categorise and label him with the life changing consequences of that "assessment." In some respects these notes tell us far more about the Asylum, its assessments and priorities rather than the abilities and potential of Alfred, or the lack of.  

                 April 2023

There have been ongoing discussions, with NFCF and Lancashire County Council which Reece Robinson has been dealing with. Although we seem to have general support that access to the Calderstones Cemetery should be available via the Right of Way there are some technical issues around the different forms of privately permitted and public rights of way which are difficult for the layman and several county councillors to understand.

                           CWGC contact 

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission have been helpful in contacting the Owner's directly to say that following a recent inspection they have decided that the current access for disabled people into the Cemetery is inadequate and needs to be remedied, there are ongoing discussions between the CWGC and the Owners to resolve this matter. At the same time, and aware of the changeover from Mersey Care NHS Trust the CWGC did suggest that we should contact the Owners and request a spare key. An idea which will be discussed at the next Committee meeting.

                            The Diocese

The Friends were contacted by an Assistant Archdeacon in the Blackburn Diocese suggesting that following contact from the Owners he wanted to arrange an early joint meeting. We asked for a deferment of the proposed date which was too early for us to arrange committee members attendance, and in the absence of an agenda asked for some clarity about the purpose of such a meeting.

               Meeting with the new NHS Trust

Four members of the Committee will be meeting Joanne Stark and Fiona Dorey on the 3rd May, at the Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Trust Headquarters which is at Sceptre Point in Preston. Joanne and Fiona will have responsibility for much of the former Calderstones site, but not of course the Cemetery, although we understand that similar arrangements for keyholding will be provided.


The New Notice

One of our members has pointed out that the Owner's new notice on the Cemetery gates actually recognises the existence of the Calderstones Cemetery, while saying access is not available. The fact that the Owners are are publicly acknowledging the existence of the cemetery, is a small but positive step . 

Note - If visiting at a weekend this sign is incorrect - the reception is closed and you will need to visit the first unit on the right on entering the site.


Peter and Tom, Brockhall Cemetery 

Kath Bowen's stones

This is a recent photo of the two marker stones which Kath placed on the graves of Peter Jones and Tom Newell, which we were able to locate in the Brockhall Cemetery. With the support of the gardeners, the stones remain in exactly the right places which were cross referenced with measurements. Next month, Peter's brother Jeff who has had the assistance of Maria Evans and the wider Tebb family, will place a wooden memorial cross on Peter's grave and hopefully Sheila will be able to do the same for her relative Tom at a later date.

May 2023

Meeting with L and SC NHS

Earlier this month our members of the Committee had an interesting meeting with Joanne and Fiona from the Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Trust who will take over responsibility for the future management of the former Calderstones site, sometime in the autumn. The meeting was an opportunity to get to know each other, explain a little about the Friends and our history and listen to the Trust's plans for the future.  The current issues and access arrangements for the Cemetery were discussed and we can be confident that the new Trust will continue to provide the same keyholder assistance for visitors

 History of Calderstones Cemetery 

The first showing of the Power Point presentation was organised with the help of Jean Lord and was held at the Old Grammar School in Whalley on the 12 May. The event was well attended with lots of interest and questions mainly from local people, a few of whom had previous Caldersones connections, but the majority, including a couple of recent arrivals in the village had no prior knowledge of the Cemetery's existence. The story of the Booth Hall babies and Calderstones wartime function as both an emergency hospital seemed to generate a lot of interest and many people were familiar with the connection of Prince John to the timing of the original opening of the military cemetery in 1916.

Peter Jones Memorial

After many years trying Jeff jones and his wife Jan were finally able to erect a memorial cross on the grave of Jeff's brother Peter, on the 13th. Maria Evans and her family were very helpful in sourcing the memorial, which is similar to that of Geoffrey Tebb and Joseph Tetlow in the Calderstones Cemetery. On hand to mark the occasion was Kath Bowen who was involved in locating and marking Peter's grave. See attached photos from Jeff - Maria's to follow later 

May 2023

Invitation to meet Assistant Archdeacon

The Diocese have received a further request from the Owners of the Cemetery to consider a partial de-consecration of the Cemetery to allow them to proceed with their construction plans. There is an established formal procedure which the Diocese must follow in dealing with such requests and the first step is for the Archdeacon to decide if he/she wishes to proceed with an application to the Bishop to consider such a request, as happened previously in 2018 and 2019. On this occasion, it is the Assistant Archdeacon Canon Grant Ashton who is making the initial enquiries and representatives of the Friends have been invited to meet him with representatives of the current Owners, at the Diocesan office.

Calderstones Hospital Cemetery visit - May 2023

The sun shone for a visit to the cemetery in late May. Sadly, the hospital cemetery appeared extremely neglected with some areas of grass, weed and brambles being 5 foot high. The military cemetery as usual was pristine  - the contrast can be seen in the photograph above.

CH Cemetery May 2023

June 2023

Podcast about Calderstones Cemetery

Whalley Local History have recently published a Podcast about our cemetery.

It can be accessed in 3 ways by clicking on your preferred format - 



Apple Podcast

Heather Nunn - Site Administrator

Members and regular visitors to the site will have noticed the much improved layout and ease of access to the different sections and records. This improvement is entirely due to the efforts of Heather who has managed to knock my random collection of records into a much more coherent and interesting form. I want to express my personal appreciation and thanks to Heather, and am sure that other members will want to thank Heather for the work she is doing on our behalf.

Meeting with the Assistant Archdeacon and representatives of the owners.

 On June 1st, Nigel, Reece and Dennis representing the Friends met with the Assistant Archdeacon, Canon Grant Ashton at the Diocesan offices in Blackburn. Also present at the meeting were a Mr and Mrs Dunn, representing the owners, Remembrance Parks Construction Ltd (RPC). The meeting had been arranged at the Assistant Archdeacon's request but there was no agenda provided, so representatives were still a little unsure about the purpose of the meeting until we arrived.

After a brief introduction and welcome from Canon Ashton, he explained that his task was to advise the Archdeacon on whether or not he (the Archdeacon) should make an application to the Bishop for a partial de-consecration of the Cemetery, which was being requested by RPC. Mr Dunn then gave a power point presentation of the owners latest plans for the development of a crematorium on the site, and tried to address issues from the previous 2019 request, which after consideration, the then Bishop Henderson, had rejected the owners request and reconfirmed the consecrated status of the whole Cemetery. Mr Dunn had produced a substantial amount of written information with illustrations, which in fairness to him was almost impossible to explain and clarify to the Friends representatives within the allotted hour and a half meeting. 

In concluding the meeting, the Assistant Archdeacon explained that whilst he was under no obligation to do so, he was inviting the Friends to comment on the RPC presentation and the documents which we were sent the following week. After careful consideration, further research and professional advice, the Friends managed to complete a detailed response to the Assistant Archdeacon within the four week deadline which he had set, and we look forward to hearing further in due course.

Ruth Fenton- Brockhall Cemetery

Ruth's relatives contacted the Friends via Jeff Jones to see if we could assist in locating Ruth's grave which we were told had an inscribed gravestone and had been placed horizontally rather than vertically at the request of the hospital authorities during the mid-80's at the time, presumably in keeping with what was thought to be a "lawn cemetery."  We are very fortunate that with Kath Bowen's experience, marker sticks, maps and tape measures we were able to locate and expose the gravestone. Ruth died in 1958 but the gravestone was installed nearly 30 years later and it is interesting to note that since that time, the stone and the well-preserved marker/number stone 212, have sunk or been overgrown by approximately 3" Ruth's relatives hope to raise the stone to sit slightly above the surface of the Cemetery.

The Cemetery wasn't always neglected

Two photos from the period 2004/6, when a Mr Arkwright was managing the Cemetery, show how the post 2000 Cemetery looked when cared for by different owners.

July 2023


Working with Ruth's family James and Lesley it was possible to locate and then expose the gravestone and the separate number stone 212 in the Brockhall Cemetery. However, over the past 40 years the stone had sunk and been covered by vegetation to an approximate depth of 3 inches, so when exposed it would inevitably again fill up with debris and create problems for maintenance. With the support of Nigel Evans MP and Mark Hirst from HDAK we gained permission to raise the stone to slightly above ground level and provide a suitable stone edging surround, See photos


Special thanks to Paul

The stone proved to be heavier than expected, but Paul who lives next to the Cemetery and was out walking his dog kindly agreed to lift it. Thanks

Ian Furber 

Ian Furber spent his working life at Calderstones and was the Head Porter when he retired in 2003. As Head Porter, amongst many other duties he was responsible for receiving, storing and then burying the urns containing human remains in the Garden of Remembrance, of the Calderstones Cemetery. As such, he was uniquely equipped to provide details of the practice and procedures which took place with those interments over the many years he was at Calderstones. 

Mel Diack OBE, who for many years was very actively involved in leading the earlier representation on behalf of the Friends, and it was his wife Kay, who  recently passed on a statement which Ian had made at the time, the importance of which may have been previously underestimated. The statement is being checked and we hope to be able to include it on the website next month. 

Lancashire Archives

Several families have commented on the positive responses and helpful assistance they have received from archivists and other staff at the Archives in Bow Lane Preston. Though it is sometimes difficult to make the initial contact, once the contact is established and people are clear about the information they wish to discover, the staff are generally helpful with positive suggestions about the records which may be available and accessible. 

Unfortunately, many but not all of the records from Calderstones and Brockhall were transferred to the Archives, so some files and records are no longer available. Access to confidential records is obviously restricted, but staff will advise on which records or parts of records may be accessible to enquirers. Where group records and lists contain information relating to other people whose names also appear on the same list, it may be difficult to see that information, but again the staff may be able to assist. We are pleased that several members have had such positive experiences in their contact with the Archives and would like to encourage other members and non-members to use the facilities and support which are available there.  

Ministry of Justice MOJ

At the recent meeting with the Assistant Archdeacon, representatives of the Owners said that they had made a physical check of the Garden of Remembrance in 2018, to establish and confirm the location of the urns which had been buried there. It was further suggested that the Diocese were aware of this intervention, but the Friends had no prior knowledge of it, and questioned whether such an intervention would be legal, without Home Office approval. A response from the MOJ is awaited and will be published later.

August 2023

   Ruth Fenton  

Ruth's family, James and Lesley have continued with their research into Ruth's early history in the Manchester area and the time she spent at Brockhall where it appears she was happy working in the Nurses Home. Ruth also had several periods of trial leave away from the Hospital which James and Lesley may refer to in the personal life story of Ruth which they are currently completing. 

Mel Diack's papers   

Mel Diack OBE and his neighbour George Hardman were the founder members of the Friends back in 2006 and for many years Mel was effectively the leader of the group, writing to newspapers, lobbying politicians. and generally trying to retain a public interest in the Cemetery.  He has been in poor health for several years and was unable to maintain an active role within the Friends, though he continued to support its activities. Two years ago, with his wife Kay, the couple moved to a small bungalow in the Fylde district leaving their home of many years in Mitton Road. Recently, while tidying through some of Mel's papers, Kay came across some items which she believed would be of interest to the Friends and sent these to us. Among the papers was a signed hand-written statement from Ian Furber, the former Head Porter at Calderstones, who had worked at the Hospital in different capacities almost from leaving school. In his role as Porter then Head Porter, Ian was responsible for the storage and subsequent interment of urns containing human remains into the Garden of Remembrance, as such his experience and knowledge are quite unique. We believe that Ian's statement which changes our understanding of the size and location of the Garden of Remembrance will be very valuable in any future discussions about the Cemetery.  A full copy of the statement will be included in the September News

Contact with the Diocese

Following our meeting in June and report in July, there has been no further contact with the Assistant Archdeacon or the Diocese, but we have forwarded a copy of the recently received Ian Furber statement, to ensure that the Diocese is aware of all the information which we have. The Statement does appear to clarify some of the uncertainties which took up so much time and effort in the past. 

  Geoffrey Tebb anniversary

The anniversary of Geoffrey's death was,  to be marked by a further visit of his sister and family, but unfortuately Covid intervened but Maria and her family were able to attend on the day - photos to follow,

A little maintenance - at last

Visitors to the Cemetery will have noticed that the edges to the roadway into the Cemetery and the sides of the path within the Cemetery have been cut back within the last couple of days and those areas look much better for it. As yet, there has been no attempt to cut back the masses of overgrown vegetation covering the graves but similar attempts at maintenance from the current Owners would be welcome.

September 2023

 "The history of Calderstones Cemetery "- presentation

  A Power Point presentation of the history was given at the Whalley Library to a group known as the Friends of Whalley Library.  Despite bringing the wrong computer to the session, the presentation went ahead and was well received by the local audience, many of whom knew the Cemetery, but had not visited recently. There were a range of different issues raised but the existence of a right of way through the Cemetery, established in the 1916 debenture seemed to provoke most interest.

Arrival of the new NHS Trust

   Representatives of the Friends were invited to attend a celebration of the end of the Mersey Care Trust's association with  Calderstones  and the arrival of the Lancashire and South Cumbria Trust which will soon take over full responsibility for managing the site. A well-attended fete was held on the main lawns in front of the Reception building, where current and former patients and staff seemed to enjoy the variety of activities and entertainments which had been arranged specially.

Ian Furber's Statement

A photo of Ian, in his office taken during his time at Calderstones. As the former Head Porter who had worked at the Hospital for many years, Ian's knowledge and direct experience of the burial of urns within the Garden of Remembrance is quite unique and we are fortunate to have received his Statement from Mrs Kay Diack, The Statement provides a lot of information which is new to the Friends and inevitably alters our previous understanding of the size and location of the Garden or Gardens of Remembrance. Further research will be carried out into new claims relating to what he had been told about, rather than witnessed, namely the burials of still-born babies and some workmen within the Cemetery. We are aware of similar claims about still-born babies in the past, but we have yet to find any documentary evidence supporting those claims. On the contrary, we do have the recorded evidence of the still-born child of Margaret Walker being buried in Grave 649 in September 1959. To date, we have no record of any workmen who may have been buried in the Cemetery, which is in the same as Grave 1940, where John Newton was buried in 1925. We do have photographs of the grave and gravestone which were damaged/destroyed in 2018, when the contractors moved into the Cemetery. John Newton was employed as a carter delivering goods from Whalley Station to the Hospital.

Ruth Fenton

The very detailed history of Ruth Fenton completed by her son James with the assistance of his partner Lesley has now arrived. Its a very honest and personal account of the life of Ruth and inevitably also of her son and author James. The enormous change in society's attitudes and controls over the past 75 years are evident and reminds us of the huge personal costs of the seemingly well-intentioned decisions which were made made by some officials and authorities, apparently, "for the best." James's inspiring story about his Mum covers a period of fundamental change and the transfer of responsibilities from the health service to community based social services. Those changes continue to evolve and develop, while as James and Lesley have discovered its the integrity and humanity of the person providing the care, rather than their official title or employer which is so important. For Ruth, Brockhall became her Home, she was accepted, liked and valued by people who were called staff, and some who were not.

Hopefully, after a few checks with James and Lesley, Ruth's fascinating story will be published on the Website next month, 

Recent photos September 2023

Some recent photos of graves within the Cemetery taken after a spell of wet weather, when the grass was particularly thick and difficult to strim. The opening pictures show the results of some of the long overdue maintenance to the verges of the roadway and central path, hopefully we might see similar maintenance to the graves. 

Geoff and Joseph
Geoff and Joseph
Booth Hall babies
Booth Hall babies

Ruth Fenton

The son of Ruth Fenton has very kindly shared the story of both his and his mothers lives. You can read the moving story here


Remembrance Service 4th November

The annual Remembrance Service will take place at the Hospital and the Queen Mary's Military Hospital Cemetery on Saturday 4th November meeting at 9.45 in the Hospital for the Parade before proceeding to the Cemetery for the Service beginning at 11.00. This is an opportunity for people to visit the Calderstones Cemetery while attending the formal Remembrance Service, as the congregation need to pass through the much larger Hospital Cemetery to access the Military Cemetery.  

New Lancashire Archives collections

This month we have two new and separate collections of historical records relating to Calderstones Hospital. Brockhall Hospital, the Royal Albert Hospital and other North-West services for people with learning disabilities, being accepted and made available to the general public by the Archives. Members with interested relatives, friends and students accessing this site are encouraged to contact the Archives in Bow Lane Preston for advice and assistance in enquiries which they may wish to make about people who may have live in these Institutions in the past. The Archives can be contacted online. or via 01772 533039

Mel Diack's papers

Following receipt of the copy of Ian Fuber's statement which was dated 11th May 2018, Mrs Diack has since sent some of her husband's papers which she had recently discovered. The Friends are carefully studying these records which are significant, and change our understanding of the history, size and locations of the Garden of Remembrance. One of the records is a large 116cm x 84cm landscape Plan of the Cemetery, produced in January 2016, which none of the current membership of the Friends had seen previously. The Plan which must have been provided by Mel, has been used by Ian to demonstrate his recollection of the areas of the Garden of Remembrance which he highlights with a green marker. As seems to be his practice, he signs and dates it with the same very significant date, 11th May 2018. It is important to remember that Ian is identifying the location to Mel, who having never worked at the Hospital, is unfamiliar with burial practice or the layout of the Cemetery. Mel's primary objective at this and other meetings which he had at the time, was to obtain proof that the original Garden of Remembrance was not in the South-West quadrant of the Cemetery,  as had been clearly claimed by the Owners, and accepted by both the Diocese of Blackburn and Ribble Valley Borough Council. More than five years later, it is easy to forget the pressure that the Friends were under to challenge and subsequently prove their view of the location of the Garden of Remembrance, while highlighting the misunderstanding. Yet, it was to be the photographic proof of the Bill Edwardson pictures, provided by David Fitzpatrick, which was to finally prove beyond doubt that the original Garden of Remembrance was not in the south east quadrant, ending what had been the pressing objective of Mel's research.

However, what had been overlooked, and has been missed since, was the importance of Ian's Statement and this very helpful associated map which clearly shows the location of a full Garden of Remembrance on one side of the central path, and the "original" or current Garden of Remembrance on the other, a section which Ian was  familiar with, and was shown in the Bill Edwardson photos. 

There is also a further signed map and statement provided by another former member of the Hospital staff which relates solely to the Garden of Remembrance on the North side of the central path. The Friends are currently carrying out further research on this document and the details of people who we believe may be interred there, and hope to be able to publish the map and the further new evidence over the next couple of months.


 The following set of Mel's photos were recently received by the Friends. They were taken in January of 2018 when contractors had moved into the Cemetery with heavy machinery and began excavations and preparation of what was said to be be roadways running north to south behind the two chapels. The owners would later claim that due to a misunderstanding with their subcontractors, Armstrong's, this work had proceeded earlier than the Owners had intended. 

The substantial excavation and installation of the roadway is evident, as is the damage done by the heavy machinery to the areas of the Garden of Remembrance which were recently revealed. These are the only known surviving photos from that time and remind us of the destruction of John Newton's grave (1940), possibly by contractors who for whatever reason, were unaware of its presence. The gravestone is shown on one photograph, with its absence highlighted in the following picture. The function of the very large white tent or marquee, shown in front of the C of E chapel remains something of a mystery. The Owners did suggest to members, that some form of religious service was held there, but we have no further explanation.

Once the consecrated status of the Cemetery was notified to the then owners, BORI Ltd, on 11th January 2018, and subsequently confirmed by the Diocese of Blackburn, all construction work was halted and the machinery was removed from the Cemetery, leaving the substantially damaged areas around the Garden of Remembrance,

Recent visit by David Brierley-Green

David Brierley-Green and his son Ian recently travelled from Yuma in Arizona via Paris, to visit the grave of his great-aunt Constance Clements who is buried in grave number 85 in the C of E section of the Cemetery. David has made the journey several times in the past and also visited the graves of other members of his family in Hastings and the Greater Manchester area. 

November 2023

           The story of Geoffrey Tebb

                                by Colette, Maria and Stella

More papers from Mel Diack

     The Bernard Parfitt statement

This statement which was given to Mel Diack in April 2018 remained unnoticed and stored with Mel's papers, until recently rediscovered by Mel's wife Kay, and forwarded to the Friends. In 2018, it had been discarded by some members because there was no other corroborative proof that the Garden of Remembrance was on both the North and South side of the central path. The recent discovery of the six-page statement from Ian Furber and the additional two clarifying maps which he provided supports Bernard's recollection of an interment which he attended, being in the Garden of Remembrance on the North, not the South side of the path. The Friends are also carrying out further research which appears to confirms Bernard's statement

No further contact from the Assistant Archdeacon 

 The Friends received an email from the Assistant Archdeacon, the Reverend Grant Ashton saying that he has now finished his report and will no longer be involved with the Friends in connection to the Cemetery. We have noted his comments in relation to an earlier request and have asked him to ensure that copies of the information which we have provided to him, will be retained within the Diocesan records.

Removal of the external ribbons and wreath

At the beginning of the month and perhaps in anticipation of the Remembrance ceremony on the 4th of November, ribbons which were attached to the memorial locks on the frame of the main entrance gate were removed, along with the Wreath which had been visible to passers-by for several months, but the memorial locks remain in place. It is assumed that representatives of the Owners who tidied up the pedestrian access into the Cemetery were responsible for this.

The Remembrance Service 4.11.23

An unforgettable day

The annual Remembrance service for the deceased military personnel buried in the Queen Mary's Military Hospital Cemetery is traditionally held on the weekend before the official National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in London. This year, the Service was held on Saturday 4th November, and as usual representatives of the British Legion accompanied by the excellent Lostock Hall Memorial Band joined other mourners in the Hospital grounds, providing an impressive musical parade and march-past, before saluting the official civic and NHS dignitaries standing at the main entrance into the Reception building.

After the Parade, the whole congregation made their way to the Queen Mary's Military Hospital Cemetery for the formal Remembrance service, at which, prayers were said, speeches made, and wreaths were then laid by representatives of local communities and societies including one which David Fitzpatrick laid on behalf of the Friends. 

Leaving the military section, the group then assembled in front of the Booth Hall babies' graves, where prayers and speeches were made, recognising and remembering the 1175 known former residents of Whalley who had previously lived on the other side of Mitton Road, but are now buried in the Calderstones Hospital Cemetery. The Mayor, Mark Hindle, laid a wreath on behalf of the Ribble Valley Borough Council, with further wreaths, laid on behalf of the NHS and the Friends of Calderstones Cemetery. Throughout this poignant ceremony, flagbearers of the British Legion detachment provided a respectful and memorable guard of honour, behind the Booth Hall babies' graves.

During the service copies of the handout with a short history of Geoffrey Tebb, which had been written by his family were handed out to the congregation, many of whom had no prior knowledge of the presence or any of the individuals currently hidden from view, buried beneath the neglected vegetation,

Later, the whole congregation, including the relatives and members of the Friends, returned to the Staff Restaurant at Calderstones where they appreciated the warm welcome and generous refreshments.

In his Mayoral Year, Mark Hindle played a key role in making this day possible, he was assisted by several other elected members and officials of the Authority. Representatives of the two NHS Trusts, Mersey Care and Lancashire and South Cumbria, provided all the practical support, generous welcome and refreshments which were appreciated by relatives who were made to feel a valued part of the event. Special thanks go to the representatives of the British Legion, whose unexpected but excellent participation in the Calderstones service made this a truly memorable day for the relatives and Friends present on the day, and equally, for those who were unable to be there.

Photos from the day and a copy of the Clitheroe Advertiser newspaper coverage which were provided by Jean Lord follow. 

Ruth Fenton

Ruth's son James and his partner Lesley have been in touch to say they have now received copies of all the available records relating to Ruth which are held at the Archives in Bow Lane Preston.  Unfortunately, only Kathryn Newman who is the Archivist has been so helpful to the family in tracing and accessing the personal records relating to Ruth. the limited amount of Ruth's records appear to have been retained and passed to the Archives but James and Lesley are content that they have seen the available information. Other members and visitors to this site wishing to enquire about relatives from both hospitals may contact Kathryn or her colleagues at or by telephone at 01772 533039 

Q.M.M.H. and the R.C. conundrum

Recent research has revealed that ten of the deceased who are buried in the Queen Mary's Military Hospital Cemetery were apparently temporarily buried in the Calderstones Cemetery prior to their burial in the military section. The explanation is not immediately obvious but it does seem to be connected to the religion of the personnel concerned, as all 10 are listed as being of the Roman Catholic faith, at a time when religious beliefs and divisions may have been far more significant to the general public than today. In addition to these 10 men, one of whom, William Jagermark is Swedish, there are also four other foreign born individuals, two Frenchmen, one Italian and one German. Of these, only the German individual, Herbert Malcherek who was a prisoner of war is not listed as being a Roman Catholic. These four men were not subsequently buried in the QMMH Cemetery. The two Frenchmen, Gustav Lemise and Leon Smagg were exhumed and repatriated to France, Angelo Botta, the Italian,  who was also a prisoner of war,  was exhumed and repatriated to Italy, while Herbert Melcherek was exhumed and reburied in the German section of Cannock Chase Cemetery.

Interestingly, in each case the deceased is said to have come from the Emergency Hospital rather than the Queen Mary's Military Hospital which might suggest that their deaths took place in a separate section of the Hospital site, or as is more likely, they took place after the Hospital site had returned to function as an institution, under civilian control.

The record of the names of the men are

ANGELO BOTTA - an Italian prisoner of war


HERBERT MELCHEREK - A German prisoner of war





GUSTAV LEMISE - a French soldier

LEON SMAGG - a French civilian





WILLIAM JAGERMARK - A Swedish civilian

Why William Jagermark should have been buried in the Military Cemetery is currently unknown, but like the reasons for the temporary burials in the Calderstones Cemetery, it may be revealed during further research of the Archives and military records.

A very promising response

The Friends were very pleased to receive this email response and the British Legion's welcome commitment to participating in a similar service next year.


What happened to the Members Section?

 A few members have asked what happened to the Member's Section and why it appears to be empty when they attempt to access it. Apologies for the delay in explaining this matter, but the Member's section was included when we first established the website in 2020 and was intended for any confidential views or information which members might wish to communicate with each other. However, experience showed it was never used and it quickly became obvious that it was unnecessary - there were considerable advantages of being open and transparent with all the information and opinions which are provided and then presented on the site. We intend to maintain that policy of transparency and confirm that the same publicly available content which is available to all our members and readers alike, represents all the information which we have. Occasionally, in the early days of the site, a few contributors needed to be advised concerning some of the content which they wanted to publish, but they were content to follow the suggestions which were made to them about personal responsibility. Three years later, there seems to be no need for a confidential members-only section and it will shortly be removed from the Index

Further information from Mel Diack's papers

. The implications of these latest set of papers from the Mel Dick collection have only recently been fully understood and appreciated for the unique recording of not one but two Gardens of Remembrance in the Calderstones Cemetery. Although the Friends had copies of the information in different locations and with different members to piece together it has only been following receipt of the records from Mrs Diack, that we have been able to piece together the significance of those records and how they relate to the latest discovery. Below is a copy of a transcription of Ian Furber's statement, then a copy of a hand-written request for Ian to identify where the Garden of Remembrance was, and then his response, which was drawn on a copy of the Owners map of the graves which was used in their submissions to the Diocese and Council.

 Ian Furber's Statement

This is a typed transcript of the hand-written information which Ian provided to Mel Diack. A copy of the original is included in the October 2023 news section.

The request to Ian Furber. 

This is a copy of the hand-written note which was taken to Ian by Mel Diack asking him to indicate his recollection of the location of the Garden of Remembrance in which he had buried urns containing human remains. It is important to note that at this time the Garden of Remembrance was thought to be on the south side of the central path. Ian is asked to use a copy of the Owner's map of the graves on which to indicate the location, which he clearly indicates is on both sides of the path

Ian Furber's response

This is clearly indicating Ian's recollection of the location of the Garden of Remembrance on both sides of the central path; also showing that the section on the North side of the path was actually more extensive than that on the South side which we know contained the remains of at least 211 known individuals.  Now linking this information with that provided by Bernard Parfitt gives us a very different understanding of the full extent of the Garden of Remembrance, while recent research may provide a further keystone confirmation of both statements.

A Christmas Card to the Friends

This is a Christmas card to the Friends from Ruth Fenton's son James and his partner Lesley, with best wishes for a happy Christmas. It's a photo of James's regiment the Blues and Royals on seasonal exercise.

An unexpected Christmas surprise

On the afternoon of Friday 22nd December, which as you may recall, for most people was effectively Christmas Eve,  the Friends were surprised to receive an email from the Bishop's Chaplain, Reverend Cheesman, containing a copy of a letter from the Bishop saying he had received an application for the partial de-consecration of the Cemetery from the Archdeacon. Copies of the Archdeacon's very brief request to the Bishop and an assistant archdeacon's report, on which the Archdeacon had based his request were also included. The Assistant Archdeacon had written his report in August, while the Archdeacon had made his request in September. 

We are unsure why there was such a delay in the Bishop asking if the Friends wished to respond to the report and subsequent application from the Archdeacon. We will be responding to that invitation, but as you will appreciate, the task was made much more difficult by the normal Christmas and New Year commitments of members and their families, as well as the absence of a substantial amount of information from the Diocese and the unexpectedly tight deadline which we were given for a response.

Friends should feel reassured that thanks to continued research, some skilled advice, a little good luck and a lot of hard work, our detailed response was received by the Diocese on the 26th January 2024 and we now await a response from the Bishop. 

Despite the substantial amount of information which the Diocese did not send to the Friends there was still a considerable amount of documentation to read and respond to, which we hope to share with members and visitors over the coming weeks.