The Friends evidence

The Evidence

For members and readers checking through the Website, it can be often be difficult to understand the  details of the case which the Friends have made, and the evidence which has been produced in support of those submissions which were made available to the two Bishops in their individual deliberations of three separate applications for the de-consecration of all or part of the Cemetery. We will try to present that evidence in a systematic and understandable form, leaving readers to form their own judgements on the merits or otherwise of the case we have made, and Bishop Philip's decision to support his Archdeacon's application on behalf of the Company which owns the site, solely to allow the construction of a crematorium. We welcome additional information, comments criticisms and where appropriate, suggested corrections where mistakes may have been made.

The history

The Friends were formed in 2006 when local residents, former staff from the Hospital joined relatives and friends of the deceased with the simple objectives of safeguarding the graves in what had become an increasingly neglected and untended cemetery. Those individuals were generally elderly, and while there was a nucleus of active members in the Whalley district, many others came from a much wider geographical area

News of the first serious attempt to proceed with the construction of a crematorium came in 2017, when the then owners, Buildings of Remembrance International, BORI Ltd announced its plans to begin construction.  The Friends were ill-prepared to respond but representatives met Mrs Angela Dunn, then General Manager of BORI, and voiced their opposition and concerns about protecting the graves, suggestions of exhumations, and crucially identifying who the deceased were, and where they were buried, as a previous owner had  removed all the gravestones, which he seemingly did not own. This meeting took place against the background of contractors moving Into the Cemetery, allegedly to complete landscaping work. With support from the NHS, representatives of BORI and the Friends were given access to confidential records to establish a jointly agreed list of the deceased in the Cemetery. That cooperation worked well until 11th January 2018 when the Friends contacted Mrs Dunn to confirm that the Cemetery was consecrated ground. Immediately, Mrs Dunn was instructed by her still unnamed Director to have no further contact with the Friends; contact ceased and the heavy construction machinery was removed from the site

The Friends were therefore very surprised when a few months later, in April 2018, we were informed that the Archdeacon intended to apply to the Bishop, for the Cemetery to be de-consecrated, allowing the construction of a crematorium. Three months after the owners had constructed a roadway within the cemetery, without faculty approval, destroying or damaging  the urns containing the remains of 211 individuals, the Archdeacon was actively proceeding with an application for de-consecration. This decision was taken despite the evidence provided to him and the arguments the Friends were making about the protections which the consecrated status offered the deceased and their families. The Archdeacon's clear support and ongoing commitment to the development of a crematorium within the Cemetery, has been evident from that time. His first application was subsequently withdrawn by him, when the Friends produced the irrefutable evidence of the true location of the Garden of Remembrance. It is important to note the difficulties which the Friends had faced in persuading the Archdeacon of the facts; written records and recollections of staff would not suffice. We are convinced that without those two photographs the Application would have proceeded on the basis that despite what he had been told and shown, the Archdeacon believed the Garden of Remembrance was elsewhere. At that time, and for good reasons the Friends regarded the Archdeacon as being a "doubting Thomas," who had fixed ideas on the Cemetery and needed firm corroboration before he would accept anything which might question those ideas.

There will be many more references to the Archdeacon later, his personal involvement and influence in relation to the Cemetery is very significant, both within the Diocese but also in the planning process. Understanding the background to that first application and its subsequent withdrawal gives the reader a better understanding  of the significance of some of the events which follow, 

The GOR proof

These are the two photos which were necessary to prove the location of the GOR to the Archdeacon

The southern Garden of Remembrance 

Prior to the discovery of the above photos which are known as the Bill Edwardson pictures, the Owners, Dioceses and RVBC had mistakenly believed that the "Hospital" Garden of Remembrance was in the south east quadrant of the Cemetery rather than the south-west. Although the Archdeacon had been told that former staff were clearly challenging his misunderstanding, he refused to change his opinion until Bill's photos provided the irrefutable evidence of the true location. In fairness to the Archdeacon, he did immediately withdraw the first application to Bishop Julian for the de-consecration of the Cemetery but surprisingly made a further application

             The significance of the Gardens of Remembrance 

The Friends have been aware of the Archdeacon's ecclesiastical concerns about the location of any burials or interments of ashes that may have taken place within the Cemetery, as Bishop Julian had clearly indicated that he was not prepared to consider any application for de-consecration if there was any possibility that bodies or human remains were buried or interred in that location. The Archdeacon was also aware that from the Owner's perspective, unless they could demonstrate areas within the Cemetery where there were no bodies, then realistically there was no prospect of developing their proposed crematorium. From our first contact with the Diocese via the Archdeacon in 2017, the location of the Gardens and unrecorded burials has been, and remains a major concern. Whatever anecdotal information and staff recollections had been provided for the Archdeacon, he has been actively supporting and promoting the view that there are no unrecorded burials and there is no secondary, or northern garden of remembrance, or certainly not in the area in which for the past seven years he has been actively influencing and promoting the construction plans of the same beneficial owner of the Cemetery. The very strong evidence which has been provided by the Friends in this respect has never been addressed or challenged by the Diocese, instead it has simply been ignored, as he records show. In the process, the integrity and honesty of two decent and honest former members of Calderstones staff who gave their statements for no material gain, are implicitly questioned by the ignorance and wilful avoidance of people who we might expect better from.


Ian Furber's evidence is the strongest and most detailed information we have received from any source, he was in a unique position which he explains in his statement, and we have never had any challenge or questioning of the unequivocal and powerful narrative which he has provided. In describing the history earlier, the intention was to provide the reader with the background to the relationship between the Friends and the Diocese at the time when the last application to the Bishop was made in 2019. It would be fair to say that members of the Friends were in awe of the Diocese and the process it required campaigners to follow in making their representations to the Bishop. The transcript of Ian's statement rather than the statement itself was submitted by those who were responsible for hurriedly co-ordinating the mass of information and evidence which was submitted on that occasion. 

              Ian Furber Transcript 

 This is a copy of the evidence which was presented to Bishop Julian in 2019, it was apparently prepared by a member who actually took the hand-written and sworn statement from Ian, but believed that presenting the Bishop with information in an edited and typed form, might be more appropriate in what was a unique experience for all the members of the Friends involved in the hurried completion of that submission, given the Diocese's apparently established practice of issuing 28-day deadlines for responses.

Ian very clearly identifies that the Garden of Remembrance is on both sides of the path, and that one area, the northern section predates the southern Garden which we believe was established in the summer of 1977. 

Ian's original statement was discovered by the wife of one of our members when she was tidying up his papers, having moved from Whalley to a much smaller bungalow on the Fylde. She immediately recognised the significance of the document and other records and gave them to the Friends, for our records and continuing research. Last year, during our contact with the Assistant Archdeacon, Rev Grant Ashton, a copy of this document was forwarded to him in the expectation that he would find it significant and want to establish more details about the existence of two separate gardens, or a more extensive single garden of remembrance, which he had presumably been aware of, having read the transcript in our 2019 submission. We invite readers to consider how they might have reacted on receiving this document.

Ian Furber Statement 2019


         Bernard Parfitt evidence

Bernard Parfitt is a former senior nurse at Calderstones who provided this statement for the Friends 2019 submission. It was withdrawn and not used in our submission, because we had no corroborative evidence to support it and members preferred to rely on the irrefutable photos of the southern Garden of Remembrance, when a demanding and often dismissive Archdeacon was dealing with their recollections, ideas and suggestions. The Friends always believed Bernard's statement but until recently did not have any other firm evidence to support it. However, all that was to change when we discovered the identities of three men, one of whom we believe was the former patient , who Bernard, nursed, was present at his death, arranged the cremation and attended the interment. Bernard's evidence is very much a part of our submission, and like Ian Furber, he provides unrivalled knowledge and experience of the practice and procedures of burials at Calderstones, and confirms the existence of the northern Garden of Remembrance.

Diocesan review of the Friends Evidence

t the request of the Diocese, the Friends have provided very detailed and time- consuming submissions to the Diocese on four separate occasions,  March 2019, July 2023, January 2024 and March 2024 and despite recent experience, must assume that these submissions have been read, understood and evaluated alongside and against other relevant submissions and evidence, before the Bishop was advised and subsequently considered his response to those submissions

It is important to understand the Process which the Diocese followed and we will deal with that area in detail later, but sometime during early 2023, in response to a request from the owners,  Remembrance Parks Construction Ltd the Diocese decided to appoint an Assistant Archdeacon to assess the request and consider its merits alongside the details of the decision of Bishop Julian in 2019 and the views of other interested parties. Unlike the two previous applications for de-consecration in 2018 and 2019, this evaluation was not to be carried out by the Archdeacon, who by his position, is responsible for making all such applications to the Bishop, but by the Assistant Archdeacon who was directly accountable to the Archdeacon.  We cannot be certain but the appointment of the Assistant Archdeacon to deal with this matter, may have been related to the Friends complaint to Bishop Julian in April 2019, which will be referred to later

However, the Assistant Archdeacon did carry out his evaluation involving the Archdeacon in the process, before he made his recommendation to the Archdeacon; we understand that it was the Assistant Archdeacon's report which the Archdeacon relied on, in making his application for partial de-consecration to the Bishop in  September 2023.  We will deal with the Assistant Archdeacon's evaluation later, but it is important to note that he and the Archdeacon were both fully aware of the evidence provided by Mr Furber and Mr Parfitt before they seemingly decided to disregard it and we cannot be certain that the Bishop ever saw this crucial evidence.

     The Ian Furber Map

This is a copy of Ian Furber's signed but crumpled map of the Gardens of Remembrance which was discovered among the huge collection of her husband's papers and memorabilia by Mrs Diack. It is perhaps the single the most outstanding evidence we have, yet as far as we are aware  it has never been referred to by the Bishop, the Archdeacon, or the Assistant Archdeacon.


An inexplicable decision

Looking at the evidence of two, or an extended single garden of remembrance, which was presented to the Assistant Archdeacon, and the Archdeacon, it seems inconceivable that these two senior advisors to the Bishop would not have acknowledged the existence of this evidence, possibly challenged it or considered its significant implications for the report and advice which they had been commissioned to provide. - but that is not what happened. Instead, the evidence seems to have been completely and conveniently ignored  to allow the Assistant Archdeacon to validate and support the owners allegedly "new" evidence  which we will systematically question and at times refute, later

   In trying to understand why this overwhelming and powerful evidence might have been overlooked, it is necessary to consider the Process by which it was considered, in more detail, but before we do so, we must stress that requests from the Friends to see the Assistant Archdeacon's report before it was passed to the Archdeacon, were consistently rejected. We believed that any misunderstandings or errors in the Assistant Archdeacon's report could be addressed, and where necessary, additional information supplied before his report was completed for consideration. Major mistakes, such as the frequent references to ashes being sometimes strewn at Calderstones, and the consequences of that mistaken assumption, could have been challenged and rectified. However, despite knowing that additional information, which we will refer to later was available, the Assistant Archdeacon firmly resisted our repeated requests for a copy of his report and decided to cease any further communication on the matter. Fortunately, the email trail of our communications and the Assistant Archdeacon's rejections survive, and can be published if the veracity of this account is questioned. In reading the following section on process, readers will  quickly spot the irony of the Assistant Archdeacon's repeated inference, that the Friends were somehow time-wasting and trying to delay his evaluation of the owners request for partial de-consecration. Keep in mind the timeline and the significant steps which took place during that period. As the record would show, we do not believe that the Archdeacon was a bystander in the Assistant Archdeacon's considerations and some might believe that the latter was in an invidious position given the 2019 complaint, which the  Friends had made about the former to the then Bishop Julian.



This is the Friends view of how the process evolved and operated, naturally it s a subjective perspective and we would welcome suggested corrections to any misunderstandings, particularly from members of the Diocese who might have a more detailed understanding of events and are able to fill some of the many gaps in our understanding. Perhaps naively, the Friends believed, or would have liked to believe, that the process would be impartial and transparent. 

Sometime in early 2023, possibly March, representatives of the new owners, now trading as Remembrance Parks Construction Ltd, contacted the Diocese, probably via their previous contact, the Archdeacon, to enquire about a new application for de-consecration. In April 2023, or possibly earlier, representatives of the Diocese, were clearly in contact with representatives of the the RPC Company, and a decision was made to consider their request, which is occasionally referred to as an application. Unusually, though we have a possible explanation, it was an assistant archdeacon rather than the  Archdeacon who was allocated the  task of reviewing the request and advising the Archdeacon on whether or not he should make an application to the Bishop for de-consecration. These arrangements took time and planning to put in place, and the Diocese's sudden overwhelming focus and commitment to "resolving" what it describes as the Calderstones Cemetery issue, is reflected in the time and resources it has dedicated to this single issue since March 2023. 

The Friends first contact with the Assistant Archdeacon came in April 2023 via an email invitation to meet him. After our negative experience of the Archdeacon's involvement in 2019, we wanted to be clear about the objectives of such a meeting and a copy of the proposed agenda, which was not forthcoming. Following some delays, including the Assistant Archdeacon's holiday arrangements the meeting did go ahead on the 1st June after we had been told that Mr and Mrs Dunn would present their new plans for the Cemetery. We would be invited to comment on the plans, and then be given a deadline of 28 days in which to respond, The issuing of tight or impossible deadlines was to become a feature of the Diocesan process, accompanied by the regular reminder from the Assistant Archdeacon that he was not obliged to consult the Friends, but was doing so out of courtesy, which hardly reflected our substantial involvement in the 2019 application, and its outcome. Prior to this meeting, we identified and then explained  our concerns about the legal issue which we believed that the Diocese should resolve before agreeing a meeting with representatives of Remembrance Parks Construction Ltd. The issue of the illegal construction of the sub-base for the roadway within the Cemetery, which had been completed without faculty, had not at that time, been addressed and resolved. It seemed to the Friends,(subsequent quotes) and our advisers, that a retrospective application for faculty should be obtained .before any new plans were considered. The Assistant Archdeacon (subsequent quotes) and Archdeacon would have been fully aware of the direct involvement and responsibilities of a director, Mr Gerard, and his employee, Mrs Dunn, in relation to that construction. However, that matter was not seen as sufficient to delay the Assistant Archdeacon's meeting.

"The matter of the lack of faculty permission for work that has been carried out in the cemetery has been referred to the Diocesan Registrar. Accordingly, the Archdeacon will follow the guidance which he receives from her and, indeed, from the Chancellor." 25.5.23

"Thank you for your email. I look forward to meeting you on Thursday but the Friends remain uncertain about the process you are following, and the specific purpose of the meeting. If as we assume to be the case, Mr Dunn has some details of new evidence and revised plans to show us on Thursday, would it not have been easier, as we had requested, to have simply sent us a copy of those details before the meeting, so we would have been better able to understand and respond to the proposals? " 30.5.23

The meeting when it took place on the 1st June was difficult, not least because Mr and Mrs Dunn were expected to give a time-limited but lengthy and detailed Power-point presentation of their proposals, which in fairness, they did manage, explaining their ideas to three representatives of the Friends who unnecessarily, had no prior knowledge or awareness of the details of the proposals before that meeting. At least one  similar presentation had been made a month earlier, and as we would discover later, there was a digital file of the presentation available which could have been provided to us earlier, it would have made the task so much easier for Mr and Mrs Dunn. We can only speculate as to why that information was not provided to us before that meeting. As it was, it was several days after the meeting that we received a copy of the presentation.

The Friends complied with the Assistant Archdeacon's deadline and provided a detailed submission of our response on the 4th July, a copy of which is available in the News section of of our website

"This is to confirm receipt of your email. I shall consider your comments carefully as I write my report." 5.7.23

The Friends continued their research into the history of the Cemetery and received two additional pieces of information which we believed were certainly relevant to the Assistant Archdeacon's review and wanted him to be aware of their significance.

    "We have been waiting to hear back from you, and assume that you will probably have already completed your report. However, there have been a couple of developments of which we think you should be aware...... The statement explains Ian's unique involvement in, and knowledge of the burial of urns within the garden/s of remembrance and provides much more additional and new information which will challenge our previous understanding of the numbers and location of burials. In our opinion, had this statement been made available in 2018, then it is doubtful if an application for de-consecration would have been made.  ......Quite separately, we are satisfied from our further research that we can demonstrate that the ashes of at least three other Calderstones patients were buried in the Calderstones Cemetery, they are not in the known Garden of Remembrance, but we do not know where in the Cemetery, they are. We believe that there may be others, but remain convinced that we will never know the exact number and location of all the people buried and interred in the Cemetery" 18.8.23

"I have been on holiday for the last three weeks and have now read your email. I will consider the information carefully and, if relevant, refer to it in my report (which I have not yet completed due to being on holiday). I will not be sending you a copy of my report for your comments, despite your request. I am writing it for the Archdeacon, who owns the process, and it is not for me to delay that process. I have discussed this with the Archdeacon and he agrees that I should send my report only to him. What he then does with it will be his decision." 21.8.23

We must assume that the Assistant Archdeacon completed his report shortly after this date, and it is quite obvious that the Archdeacon is fully involved, guiding and supervising the completion and restrictions of a report which is notionally intended to advise him on whether or not to make an application for de-consecration to the Bishop. You might question why the Archdeacon did not want the Friends to have prior access to a report especially, if as we discovered later, it might contain incorrect information. We thought it was important to ensure that the Assistant Archdeacon had copies of the complete six pages of  Ian Furber's statement, so we sent copies to him.

"We look forward to hearing from you about our latest contact in due course, but further to the earlier email, attached is the copy of Ian Furber's statement ,which you will see provides a very different record of the Garden/s of Remembrance from somebody with the unique experience of being responsible for the actual interments of ashes into the Cemetery." 29.8.23

"Thank you for the information which I shall consider carefully. I shall include your request for a copy of the report." 31.8.23

The Assistant Archdeacon and Archdeacon both had copies of the powerful six- page statement of Ian, they could compare that against the Transcript which they had already seen. But we now had an additional and perhaps, the most important piece of evidence from Mr Furber, the original copy of a signed and dated map of the Cemetery, and the Gardens of Remembrance. We wanted the Assistant Archdeacon to have this information as soon as possible and wrote to him. Also, please consider the last paragraph of the email below. The Friends are asking if a statement Mr Dunn made in the meeting on 1st June is true or not. Ten months later and after the Bishop's consultation we have still not received an answer, to what is a very simple question.

   " Further to my email of the 29th August, I have now had a further meeting with Mrs Diack who has provided three more folders belonging to her husband, Mel, containing photographs and papers, many of which, I and other members of the Friends had not seen before. Among the records, was a large and previously unseen Developer's Plan of the site dated 2016, on which Ian Furber has outlined the location of the larger Gardens of Remembrance, signing the document on the 11th May 2018, which is the same date he made and signed the Statement, a copy of which you already have.
 The unfortunate reason for the delay in seeing these documents is regrettable, especially as their earlier disclosure might have saved a lot of work, for people in the past, but I wanted you to be aware of the additional information we have received,
Members have also asked me to clarify if Mr Dunn's claim at our recent meeting, that in 2018 or 2019, the Owners had dug into part of the Gardens of Remembrance and photographed urns with the prior approval of the Diocese, was accepted or rejected. You will appreciate our particular concern about this matter." 24.9.23 

"It seems clear to me that the statement which you sent me is not new evidence, parts of it having previously been included verbatim as Annex 5C to your submission to Bishop Julian in 2018. Given the date, it also seems to me that this is the statement which was retracted. Accordingly, I have disregarded it but passed it to the Archdeacon of Blackburn with my comments so that he is aware of it. My involvement in this matter is now complete. I have submitted my report to the Archdeacon, who has now referred the matter to the Bishop of Blackburn. I am therefore unable to enter into any more correspondence on the subject." 24.10.23

  The Assistant Archdeacon, has clearly confused Annex 5c and has either not understood or ignored the note of the 18.8,23 about the corroborative information which we have now discovered, fully validating the Bernard Parfitt statement. Despite our uniquely powerful evidence, he has decided to disregard it but confirms that he has passed it to the Archdeacon who has now referred the matter ( we are not sure if this means Ian Furber's evidence, or the application for de-consecration?) to the Bishop. 

 "Thank you for your email of the 24th, our response has been delayed by a bereavement. We were surprised to hear that you might disregard Ian Furber's detailed and signed statement, when it so evidently contains much more detail and visual representations than the short precis of Appendix 5c. We also note that you have not yet seen Ian's map which accompanies that statement and as was explained, has not been seen before. You refer to a statement being retracted, but perhaps understandably have confused 5b which was retracted, with 5c.

In any current or future consideration of the consecrated status of the Cemetery, we are convinced that the Diocese would want to be aware of these facts which interestingly would probably never have been revealed and fully understood, had we not had the opportunity of meeting with you on the 1st June and without Mrs Diack's thoughtful presentation of her husband's records.

You have made it clear that you are unable to enter into any further correspondence on this matter with the Friends, a position we find strange but reluctantly accept. However, we want to be reassured that the information we have provided, will be retained in Diocesan records and can be made available to the current and future Bishops of the Diocese. Finally, members have asked me to place on record that we still have not had an answer to the very reasonable requests for clarification which have been made to you, in respect of Mr Dunn's claim at your meeting on the 1st June," 3.11.23

The Friends are aware that during the first week in November 2023. the Bishop held an informal meeting with very senior representatives of the Council. At that meeting which was not minuted, we understand that the Bishop raised the issue of the Cemetery and expressed his opinion. Following that meeting rumours began to emerge that the Bishop was eager to resolve the Cemetery issue, and was minded to allow the development of a crematorium. We must stress that these were just rumours, but when the message from very different and reliable sources. was uniformly similar and never mentioned the possible retention of the consecrated status, then we had cause for concern. Nothing further was heard from the Assistant Archdeacon, and the Friends believed that representatives of the Diocese would be checking the additional information which we had offered and provided, and expecting further contact on those documents. Instead, immediately before the Diocesan office closed for Christmas, the The Friends were to receive a completely unexpected email and copy letter from the Bishop on Christmas Eve. 

     The unexpected Christmas mail.

The Archdeacon's Application

 The  incomplete report -

We will deal with the final version of the Assistant Archdeacon's report later. That is, the complete version, which we finally received in March 2023, six months after he apparently wrote it, with all the missing documentation which had presumably convinced him to recommend to the Archdeacon that he should make an application for the partial de-consecration of the Cemetery. But on Christmas Eve, 2023, we are being asked to respond to a copy of a potentially hugely important report which contrary to its claim, does not contain the information or evidence on which it is based.


The Shock.

As members prepared for their own and families Christmas, with commitments and plans already made, people to see, presents to wrap, and a relaxing break to look forward to, we were suddenly faced with the shock of the Bishop's letter with its accompanying deadline, and the consequent stress which would inevitably be felt by the families and friends of the deceased, and those most closely involved in representing our case. Readers will form their own opinion on the timing of the Bishop's letter, especially as we can see that the Bishop had had the Archdeacon's application for three months, at the time he chose to write that letter. Some  charitable and generous members of the Friends, suggest it was a sign of incompetence and possibly extreme insensitivity, as they prefer the cockup to conspiracy theory, while for others, cynical, has been the description used.  


 Christmas Eve and post-Christmas 

There was no further contact with the Assistant Archdeacon, or the Archdeacon who as we had been told "owns the process" and all further contact and quotes on behalf of the Diocese came from Rev Sam Greenwood the Chaplain to the Bishop..

Dear Mr Buckley

Please find a letter attached from the Bishop of Blackburn and accompanying documentation.

With thanks and prayers for a blessed Christmas


The Rev'd Sam Cheesman

Chaplain to the Bishop of Blackburn  22.12.23 

3 Attachments • Scanned by Gmail   

(This is the copy of the Bishop's letter, the Archdeacon's application and an incomplete report).

In his letter dated 22 December 2023 the Bishop says...I have received an application from the Archdeacon of Blackburn, the Venerable Mark Ireland, requesting that I remove the effects of consecration from part of the the consecrated land at Calderstones Cemetery ...At paragraph 3 of his Report, the Assistant Archdeacon says ...... RPC have submitted a considerable amount of documentation to support this renewed application. Although their documentation is entitled "An application to Remove the Legal Effects of Consecration on Part of Calderstones Cemetery, Whalley" I will refer to it as their Submission The Submission is a document of 11 pages and 19 appendices, and should be read alongside this report. 

With this letter I enclose a copy of the application I have received, complete with the report that accompanied it in support ...I refer to the letter to you of the Archdeacon of Blackburn dated 26 September 2023. 

Two matters arise from this.

First, when the Bishop refers in his letter to the application he has received, it seems that he is referring to the letter dated 25 September 2023 from the Archdeacon of Blackburn; and "the attached proposal" in which the application is detailed, is the submission of RPC referred to at paragraph 3 of the Report of the Assistant Archdeacon. Can you confirm this (or otherwise)? Second, can you send me a copy of the RPC's submission, together with its 19 appendices.For the avoidance of doubt, I can confirm that I have copies of documents a, c and d referred to at paragraph 25 of the Assistant Archdeacon's Report. as detailed in the attached proposal. 5.1.24 

"Regarding the two matters on which you enquire:

Firstly, the Bishop of Blackburn received two documents with the letter from the Archdeacon dated 25th September 2023, the Assistant Archdeacon's report and legal advice from Lisa Moncur. The Assistant Archdeacon's report includes the sections and annexures listed at the beginning of it, and it is this report alone and the sections and annexures to it that amount to the 'attached proposal'. No other documents were included with the application to the Bishop.

Secondly, the Bishop is asking for representations from the Friends on the application as he has received it. This is not a requirement of the statutory process under which the application is being considered, but because consideration of the Friend's representations on the application is what the Bishop considers to be fair and proper in all the circumstances. As the Bishop has not received the documentation the Assistant Archdeacon refers to from RPC, except as mentioned and included in the report that you have, the Bishop is not able to provide this documentation to you." 5.1.24

.Thank you for your prompt response to my e mail dated 5 January 2024 in which you make it clear that the Bishop has not had from the Archdeacon the documentation which, at paragraph 25 of his Report, the Assistant Archdeacon said should accompany an application by the Archdeacon. However you also make it clear that the Assistant Archdeacon's Report forms part of the Application. It would seem (but of course do tell me if I am wrong) that the Bishop has not yet read the documentation supporting the Archdeacon's application.When he does so, he will see that without a copy of RPC's submission, he has no way of knowing what is the area in respect to which the Archdeacon's application applies.

Moreover the Assistant Archdeacon's Report is shot through with refences to RPC's submission: (the submission is a document of 11 pages and 19 appendices, and should be read alongside this report 10.1.24.

"We have provided the application to you exactly as the Bishop has received it. I have, however, upon reading your email obtained title information for the site for you and also a plan of the area subject to the request and I attach these to assist you with your representations and to assist the Bishop with the application in due course . I will add these documents to the papers to be considered by the Bishop as additional information from an outside source. Should the Bishop require further documentation to assist with his consideration of the application he may ask for it and we will certainly let you have sight of anything additional that he considers. In the meantime, I will consider your emails to be representations and will pass these to the Bishop for consideration with all the papers (including the attached title details and attached plan) at the end of the month. Should you have anything further to add then please let me have this by the deadline specified." 19.1.24

The Friends were obliged to complete yet another submission within the tight deadline which the Diocese had set, on the basis of an application which was known to be incomplete and lacked the evidence on which it was clearly reliant (exactly as the Bishop had received it). We must assume that as the Bishop did not receive it. either the Archdeacon had forgotten to send it, or had lost it, or it did not exist either at the time he submitted his application on 24th September, or when the Bishop wrote his letter on the 22nd December. Contrary to what might have been expected, the Friends have received no further explanation or clarification on this matter.

"On behalf of the Friends of Calderstones and Brockhall Hospital Cemeteries, I am attaching a copy of the Friends response to Bishop Philip's letter and attachments dated 22nd December, and should be grateful if you would confirm receipt of the same." 25.1.24

"I am able to confirm receipt with thanks. The attachment has opened and on first inspection there is nothing I can see that is missing that was intended to be in touch." 26.1.24

At this stage, the Friends were increasingly concerned that the Diocese had shown no plans for presenting the Archdeacon's Application for public consultation, as had happened in both the 2018 and 2019, applications, the first was withdrawn by the Archdeacon, but the second of which, had received a substantial response from multiple different people and organisations, locally, nationally and internationally. We wanted to ensure that the Diocese did consult with the wider public, and were already aware of the concerns of people who had submitted their views to Bishop Julian in 2019, but now felt they might be ignored. Our secondary concern was that since 2019. we had treated certain matters relating to our complaint to the Diocese at that time relating to planning issues, in confidence, and were now asking if those and any other matters should continue to be treated in confidence.

       "Further to your acknowledgement of 26th January, we have had no further response and are not aware of any wider public consultation in relation to the Archdeacon's application to the Bishop. To date, we have treated our correspondence and detailed response to the Application, in confidence, which in fairness to you, was nor requested. However, we are committed to transparency in contact with our membership and as with any other important item of interest, we would now like to bring some copies of the process, reports, evidence and correspondence we have had with the Diocese, to the attention of the membership and the wider public, via the Friends Website and Facebook page.

Before we do so, out of courtesy to the Diocese, and to avoid any misunderstanding, we want to notify you of our intention, giving you the opportunity to comment on the proposal and identify any areas which you would prefer to be dealt with on a confidential basis. It would be helpful to have an early response to this request and it would seem reasonable, that if we have not heard back by 5pm on Friday 16th February, we will assume that you have no objection to the Friends proceeding as normal.
Thank you for your assistance in this matter"  8.2.24

"Thank you for your earlier email, as you suggest, we will be happy to use social media to encourage members and others to access the public consultation process which you are proposing. With due respect, your email does not address the question I asked about any correspondence or information which you might wish to remain confidential" 9.2.24

Perhaps prompted by the Friends and having previously issued incomplete or unavailable evidence in support of the Archdeacon's September application, and the Bishop's Christmas Eve request for a response to that Application from the Friends, it appeared that the Diocese had now decided to put the Application out for public consultation and intended to make ALL the supportive information they had been given by RPC Ltd, the Archdeacon and the Assistant Archdeacon available to that public. The method they chose for the presentation of what would be an overwhelming amount of paperwork and records was via internet access which it was immediately obvious would limit access to those who were competent and experienced in using social media. Having committed to exclusively digital representation of the information, the Diocese then opted to restrict responses to postal replies. However in inviting those responses, it made no mention of making them available to RPC Ltd, which it subsequently did. Readers will also note, the seemingly well- established response of the Diocese, when faced with uncomfortable questions which is to ignore them and keep ignoring them .

"I wrote to you today with both a letter explaining how the matter has progressed and a pack with further information for The FCBHC to consider. It was sent this morning and you should receive these by tracked post tomorrow. It includes details of the public consultation which starts tomorrow. I am very happy for you to use social media to point people to this public consultation and it will be through this open and transparent process that the Bishop of Blackburn will receive representations. Further details will be in the letter which you will receive presently. As part of this process the details of the Archdeacon's Application, and the further information which you were sent this morning, will be presented on the Diocesan Website to ensure those who wish to make representations can do so in as informed a way as possible." dated 8.2.24

As the public consultation is the Bishop of Blackburn's I have been passed your questions and am happy to reply. Please see replies below, set in the context of your questions for ease.

1. Please confirm the date and time of the end of the consultation – will any extension be given to the stated 28 days given the large number of documents to be read? The notice was exhibited on Friday 9th February and the period for consultation expires 28 days later on 8th March. Should an extension be required then a request to the Bishop with reasons will be considered.

2. Feedback has been received from the public that they wish to respond to the consultation, but the volume of papers and lack of summary is off-putting. Could a summary in easily understandable terms be produced? We appreciate that there is a lot of paperwork. However, we are not able to provide a summary, a summary may miss something important or could be misconstrued, and the documents should be considered in full.

3. Please confirm the postal address to which responses should be sent – the website states the Diocesan Registrar at The Registry but the public notice states Bishop's House, Clayton-le-Dale. Either would be acceptable and all will be given to the Bishop for consideration.

4. Is it possible for a response to be made to the consultation via email and if so, which email address should be used? This method of response has the benefit of being quicker, easier and free and is more likely to engage public response as well as avoiding the worry of letters arriving late or being delayed by Royal Mail. Hard copy responses are required and can be hand delivered or posted to either address.

5. How will those without access to the internet or with access via only a mobile phone be able to fully engage with the consultation? The papers are fully available online and can be printed and circulated in hard copy.

6. The consultation is not easy to find on the Diocese's website with no link/direction from the homepage or inclusion in the News articles which has led to feedback that the public have been unable to access the documents. Could this be rectified please? The documents are in the section of the Diocesan website where public notices are exhibited, this is considered the most appropriate and obvious location on the Diocesan website.

7. There is no explanation of consecration, it's purpose and it's significance. Could this be rectified please? We recommend that anyone that is unsure and requires to understand anything more on the papers or the application should take appropriate advice.

8. We are assuming that it is the Archdeacon's Application that we are being consulted on, not just the RPC report (item 3)? Item 3, RPC Request is not dated or signed – we need to know who the author was to be able to comment on the content. This is correct, the public are being asked to make representations on the Archdeacon's application and its associated documents. The application has been made available in the form received by the Bishop and it is clear in the documents that the RPC request documents constitute a request from the RPC.

9. Apart from the RPC content is the Archdeacon intending to provide any contrary view for the Diocesan public consultation (i.e. the Friends response dated 26 January 2024), or has he already dismissed them? The Archdeacon has provided his application to the Bishop, and this application and its associated document are available for public consultation, the Archdeacon has not seen the Friends response to the Bishop on the application. 16.2.24

"Thank you for that response, I feel sure that I will be in touch again, once I have circulated your answers, but before I do so, would you please check your responses to questions 4 and 5 which might be seen by some, as inevitably restricting opportunities for people to fully participate in the process. Should you be content with the present response I am happy to circulate them as they are. I want to have a clear understanding of your response to question 9 because it would be very easy to unintentionally misrepresent the content. We completed a report to the Assistant Archdeacon on 5th July, and submitted further evidence to him in August 2023. Are we to understand that the Archdeacon did have access to both that report and the additional evidence, when he considered the Assistant Archdeacon's report, to which we had been denied access, and wrote his application to the Bishop on 26th September 2023? If so, are we now understand that the Archdeacon has not yet seen the Friends response or the accompanying evidence to his incomplete application, which was sent to the Bishop on 26th January 2024 ? It would be helpful to have a shared understanding of that position, as members are yet again extremely busy trying to prepare a further response to a report that was either not available or withheld from us on the 22nd December 2023" 17.2.24

I have been contacted by one of our members, an elderly lady named Mrs Kathleen Bowen, who has no internet access and no wish to learn social media skills. Despite this, she remains active in her local church and both the Calderstones and Brockhall Cemeteries. She is very knowledgeable about the Cemeteries and their histories, and like lots of other people wants to contribute to the consultation process, but feels restricted by the impossible volume of information which she might be expected to access and read. I am hopeful that Mrs Bowen will write to the Bishop in due course, but wanted to respond to her request that the Friends should point out the probably unintentional unfairness of the situation, where many people like her might feel discouraged from expressing their views." 27.2.24

The history and proposals for the known Garden of Remembrance on the south side of the central path in the Cemetery, is a cause of concern to the Friends and will be prominent in our response to the Bishop. At the meeting with the Assistant Archdeacon on 1st June, Mr Dunn claimed that the Owners had with the approval of the Diocese, dug into the Garden of Remembrance, allegedly to check urns which were buried there. This was new information to the Friends who for the past six years, have been waiting for answers from the Owners and the Archdeacon, to what became known as the nine points document. On three occasions 24th September, 20th October, and 3rd November the Friends wrote directly to the Assistant Archdeacon asking him to confirm or reject Mr. Dunn's claim. On each occasion that request was simply ignored, and has never been answered. For clarification, we are now respectfully asking you to confirm or reject Mr Dunn's claim, and if confirmed,. give details of dates, contacts with interested parties - families, and who might have approved such an intervention on behalf of the Diocese, Thank you for your assistance in this matter, which you will appreciate is a significant and important issue for the Friends." 29.2.24

 "I do not have information on your concern and am therefore not able to reply regarding the content of your email. If they consider this to be relevant to how the matter of deconsecration should be determined by the Bishop then the Friends should include details in their representations. Should the Bishop wish to seek further information with regards to what you raise so as to assist in his decision then, as he has done previously, the Bishop will share the information gained with the Friends. 1.3.24

Thank you for your prompt response, which we will now consider carefully 1.3.24

"After a hectic few weeks of hard work from a group of very special and dedicated people, I am pleased to attach a copy of the Friends response to the Bishop's invitation to participate in the consultation process to consider the application for partial de-consecration made by the Archdeacon on 26th September 2023. A signed hardcopy with be posted to you, once printed.
As I suggested earlier, we might wish to add new information in relation to a couple of items, and may be able to improve the visual presentation of the attachments. Otherwise, I am satisfied with the content, though inevitably there may be typos which have been missed.
Thank you for your assistance in this matter" 7.3.24

"Thank you for these and I can confirm receipt by email on 7th March and today by hard copy. The representations will now go to the landowners for any final comments which are to be received within fourteen days. After which, the Bishop will consider the matter. 11.3.24

"In your covering letter dated 7 March 2024, you reference three earlier submissions which you should accompany your latest response.For the avoidance of confusion and to ensure that all of your submissions are considered, please can you clarify which further submissions you refer to.Your submission of January 26 has been received and will be considered. I would be grateful if you can forward the two other submissions which you have mentioned." 11.3.24

"Our two other submissions are the one requested by, and sent to the Assistant Archdeacon on 4th July 2024, and the full submission in response to the Archdeacon's second application which was sent to Bishop Julian in March 2019, I believe that you will have both of these on file, but if you have a problem accessing them, please let me know and I'll arrange further copies." 11.3.24

"Thank you for this clarity. As I am sure you will be aware the Bishop and office have all changed since the 2019 submission and I would very much appreciate it if you were able to forward the March 2019 submission to me." 11.3.24

"As requested, attached is a copy of our submission to Bishop Julian in 2019" 12.3.24

 I am attaching a copy of a letter to Bishop Philip, which i believe will be of interest to him. The original has been posted and should arrive within the next few days. 15.4.24

 3 Attachments • Scanned by Gmail

Following a full and thorough assessment of all material and paying particular attention to the representations made during the public consultation, Bishop Philip has made his decision regarding the Archdeacon's application, and you can see his response attached. I am sending it to you as a representative of the Friends of Calderstones group. This letter will be placed in the usual place for public notices on the diocesan website and shared with those representing the owners of the Land. Paying particular attention to the representations of those who wished to see the cemetery in better condition and those who sought proper memorialisation of those buried there, Bishop Philip has placed certain conditions on his decision which you will be able to see in the attached.

Dear Bishop Philip

The Calderstones Cemetery

I refer to the objection dated 7.3.24 of the Friends of Calderstones Cemetery to a proposed order under section 92 of the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction and Care of Churches Measure 2018.As you will realise, the Friends had only a very limited time to consider the Archdeacon's application and the material submitted with it; in particular, Appendix 10 of the application to the Archdeacon by RPC. We have now had the opportunity to consider Part 1 in more detail.

Appendix 10 part 1 contains a record of most of those who died at the hospital between January 1967 and January 1976. Although there are multiple "typo" errors, it is a helpful document, enabling the reader to get a clear "feel" for what was happening; and in particular the arrangements before the establishment of the southern Garden of Remembrance in 1977. The picture that emerges is that of the norm for the disposition of remains to have been by way of burial until the beginning of 1967. There then was a change, Unfortunately, nothing is known about this change of policy (which, after all, was more than 50 years ago) save by what emerges from such records of the disposition of remains as still exist. The norm then became cremation of the remains at Accrington Crematorium, with the ashes being scattered at the Crematorium.

However, Appendix 10 part 1 shows that this was by no means universally the case. The record identifies a group of eight people (listed in Annex A), whose remains were cremated at Accrington Cemetery, and whose ashes were collected by Calderstones, from the Crematorium but in respect of which there is no record of disposal.The record also identifies a group of 11 people (listed in Annex B), which Appendix 10 Part 1 records as being "Possible scattering," but their records appear to be the same or similar as those in Appendix A and there is no suggestion of a place of possible scattering. Thus, there is in total, a group of 19 people, whose remains were cremated at Accrington Cemetery but about whom, Appendix 10 part 1 is uncertain about the destination of the ashes. Obviously, the possibility occurs that these ashes may have been interred at Calderstones Cemetery.

The Friends have been in touch with the Bereavement Services Manager at Hyndburn Borough Council (which runs Accrington Crematorium) and have ascertained that the applicant for cremation and return of the ashes in each case, was the Hospital Secretary or Manager. Accordingly, when the remains were released to the funeral

director, the director would have had to dispose of them in accordance with the direction of the Hospital Secretary or Manager. The Friends have seen no evidence that ashes were ever scattered at Calderstones Cemetery; and the short point is if ashes were to be scattered, why would the hospital authorities go to the trouble in certain cases of organising scattering at Calderstones rather than at Accrington?

However, that may be, the evidence of Ian Furber speaks to the existence of a northern and southern Garden of Remembrance and of a northern Garden of Remembrance which was full when he became Head Porter in 1990. The question arises as to the identity of those whose remains were interred in the northern garden of remembrance. The record contained in Appendix 10 Part 1 suggests that it would have contained the remains of those identified in Annexes A and B.

In 1977, the southern Garden of Remembrance was established, and the ashes of 211 people are there interred. The reasons that led to ashes being interred in the southern Garden of Remembrance would have obtained before 1977; so that the evidence of Ian Furber that there was a northern Garden of Remembrance is intrinsically credible; and is supported by the evidence of Bernard Parfitt.The precise location of the northern garden of remembrance has not been precisely identified. It (or part of it) may lie within the area proposed to be deconsecrated. Even were it to be demonstrated that it lies outside the land proposed to be deconsecrated, it impinges on that land even more closely than the southern garden ofremembrance. It is unfortunate that the records are not clearer but that is as it may be. It is for the Archdeacon to show that consecration of the land which is the subject of his application serves no continuing purpose; it is not for the Friends to prove the reverse.

For the same reason that Bishop Julian rejected the original application and for the wider reasons set out in our objection dated 7th March 2024, the current application should also be rejected.The Friends are continuing to examine the details in Part 2 of Index 10 and if any further relevant information is revealed during those checks, we will endeavour to bring those matters to your attention as soon as possible. If in response to this letter the Archdeacon or RPC should subject further factual material to you, the Friends would wish to have the opportunity to comment upon it.

Yours sincerely

Dennis Buckley

Friends of Calderstones and Brockhall Hospital Cemeteries   24.4.2024