Less than one hundred yards from Salford City FC's freshly built multi-million pound Moor Lane stadium in Kersal is the historic St Paul's Church, and its churchyard is a reminder of the city's past moneyed grandees.
At the very front of the old cemetery, is the rather neat and tidy grave of Alexander Cussons and family, founders of the world famous soap empire. However, at the very, very back of the yard, literally buried beneath 6ft high weeds and brambles, is the grave of William Evans, who built his way up the career ladder, from boy to 'soap manager' at Cussons, producing the first ever bar of Imperial Leather.
"Yes, he made the first ever bar of Imperial Leather soap" says great granddaughter, Lesley Northall, who runs the Junction Cafe on Lower Broughton Road "Apparently he could lick soap and tell you what was in it; he's in the Salford history books..."
The great soap man is buried alongside Lesley's great grandmother and great aunt, and she wants to add some belongings and ashes of her late mother to the site but it is impossible to access it from the path.
"My mum had Altzheimer's and those who are buried here were the only ones she was asking for" she says "So I just want to clear the grave up to put her with who she wanted to be with... but I can't get to it. We've been going for years but I've never ever seen it this bad.
"As a family it's our job to do the upkeep, and I'm not asking anyone to do it for me; just as long as I can get to it" she adds "Once it's cleared I'm quite happy to keep the path so it never gets like this again. I spoke to someone who was working on the yard and he said 'If you get a strimmer you can come and do it yourself'...but look at it!"
While the contrast between the Cussons-related graves couldn't be more stark, it's not St Paul's Church being disrespectful in any way. It's a complete and utter lack of resources to maintain a vital site of Salford's heritage, which contains around four thousand graves with roughly eleven thousand burials, dating back to the opening of the church in 1852.
The churchyard is maintained by St Paul's PCC in conjunction with the SPACE (St Paul's Ancient Churchyard Environment) Group, and aims to preserve and manage the churchyard environment in line with the Diocese of Manchester Churchyard regulations.
"To help with this we have a Churchyard Maintenance Officer who keeps the paths clear, and mows, strims and weeds on a rolling programme and works far beyond the five hours a week for which he is paid" explains Anthea Darlington, Chair of SPACE and a Lay Reader in the parish.
"There is no government or Church of England dedicated funding for churchyard maintenance, and little left over for this from church income after other needs are met" she adds "Burial fees are minimal and infrequent ? about two a year. The majority of graves are unvisited, and fewer still are maintained by families. This contributes to the general condition of the churchyard.
"This can mean that some families visiting after a long absence, who are not privy to the conditions under which church graveyards are operated, are distressed by the condition of and access to individual graves" she says "The PCC's long-term maintenance programme includes the removal of kerbs to facilitate mowing and strimming and provide better access to graves, but it requires family consent which is almost impossible to obtain. When individual families approach us, we do our best to provide access for them.
"SPACE and the PCC work hard to provide as much maintenance as can be afforded, but funds and time restrictions mean they must prioritise" she explains "Work in one area of the churchyard means that other areas have to remain 'on hold.' We do not satisfy the current criteria for National Lottery funding and have had our bids turned down, and though Community Payback has provided valuable assistance in the past, current policies to do with funding and supervision mean this is no longer feasible.
"Both the PCC and SPACE work hard to identify and tap into additional sources of funding, including regular appeals to those with an interest in the graveyard" Anthea concludes "We are grateful to those families who still maintain their graves: SPACE meets twice a year at St Paul's and we welcome anyone with an interest in the churchyard to come along. Donations towards maintenance are always gratefully received and put to good use."
Meanwhile, distraught daughter Lesley is left in the thick of it... "It needs more volunteers or something" she says "I just want to be able to get to my family's grave..."
For further details on St Paul's Church and to contact SPACE see the website www.stpaulsparish.org.uk