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DISTRAUGHT SALFORD DAUGHTER CAN?T GET TO FAMILY GRAVE AT ST PAUL?S CHURCH IN KERSAL
 

Star date: 14th August 2018

A TALE OF TWO CUSSONS, HIGH BRAMBLES AND IMPERIAL LEATHER

At the front of St Paul's Churchyard in Kersal, the first neat and tidy grave you come across is that of Alexander Cussons and famous family. However the grave of the less famous William Evans, who produced the first ever bar of Imperial Leather soap, is at the very back of the yard and totally inaccessible, literally buried beneath 6ft high weeds and brambles.

William Evans' great granddaughter, Lesley Northall, is distraught as she wants to add her mother's ashes to the site but can't get near it. This isn't just the tale of two Cussons gurus but also of a church struggling for resources.

Full details here...


Alexander Cussons grave Near the site of William Evans' grave Near the site of William Evans' grave
St Paul's Churchyard Kersal, Salford St Paul's Church Kersal Salford
click image to enlarge

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

Arnold Rimmer wrote
at 12:31:39 on 15 August 2018
The church has bags of tax free cash or would funding it hurt their profits like any other corporation? Sad for the people that have a need to go but really the church should be forced to pay.

Jean Allcock wrote
at 10:05:25 on 15 August 2018
Take the matter into your own hands and get a cutter or a strummer and cut it all back yourself.

Colonel Blimp J.P. wrote
at 06:07:45 on 15 August 2018
What should happen for situations like this where labour is needed is that a new form of community payback should be introduced. From what I have observed, the ones that are on the existing scheme have absolutely no work ethic about them. There is more work in a sick note. Most are only there because there is not enough jail space available for them. Its just to arse them about a bit.The magistrates who dish out big motoring fines to drivers only send money to central government, which never gets seen again. Motorists should be offered the chance to payback the community instead with work and commute the fine.This could be at a rate say of hundred quid a day. You could then get a good corps of better class community payback wallahs who could actually benefit the community.You would soon get all these jobs done.

Alice wrote
at 17:50:09 on 14 August 2018
I live very close to the grave yard and understand Lesley's frustration. Getting volunteers to give time is not easy. I am a member of the Friends of Kersal Moor which runs at the side of the cemetery. We have Ranger who works hard to maintain the paths on the Moor and the Friends volunteer to help. However, without this help it would soon be a forest. There seems to be two solutions. One is a regular fund from the Church of England to maintain grave yards or the relatives of those buried must maintain their graves. These sites are actually of historical interest and could also become environmental oases if cared for. Our local deer and fox can often be seen there. Best wishes Lesley.

Rossi enlightens wrote
at 17:49:10 on 14 August 2018
Hi Guys, I just thought that I'd enlighten you. What it is, is that I found a fabulous grave in St Paul's cemetery in Kersal about six years ago. It's the grave of Lieutenant George Orme Smart. He was a fighter pilot in The Great War. His body sadly isn't in the grave, as it was never found. You're probsbly wondering why I'm telling you all this? Well I'll tell you. Orme Smart was a local boy, from Kersal, not particularly priveliged ... and he was shot down by Manfred Von Richthoeffen. Or to you unenlightened ones, the legendary Red Baron. If you don't believe me, check it out. It's true. An absolutely amazing story of a Son of Salford that almost nobody knows anything about.

Bill Thomason wrote
at 14:19:15 on 14 August 2018
I live in Cadishead M44 but I have a cordless strimmer and willing to help if needs be. Good luck, take care Bill thomason.

the end wrote
at 14:19:00 on 14 August 2018
what on earth has this to do with Salford FC and their stadium?

Salford born wrote
at 12:48:11 on 14 August 2018
Maybe salford star readers could volunteer to help

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