As our outstanding churchyard has not had a new burial for some 100 years, many graves are clearly untended. Nine months ago, Teddington Parish launched a scheme where people could adopt a grave or graves and look after them.

We now have nearly 100 graves adopted, and the results are obvious. The “six foot” of each grave where regular care has begun looks tidied of weeds and overgrowth, and small flowering plants have been used to add some colour and life in respect to those whose life is remembered.

It has been inspiring to have graves tended by descendants of the deceased, or because the name, date of death or age of the person recorded strikes a chord with individual adopters. We also have a group of graves of children, now being cared for by our local Brownies.

Interest in the family history of those buried in the adopted graves has grown, and members of our church recording group have been helping uncover the facts behind the names.

There are still many graves which can be adopted, and we welcome approaches from individuals or groups wanting to be part of this wonderful community endeavour. This would involve every few months a bit of physical tidying, removing weeds, saplings and the like, perhaps adding some plants, and making the grave look and feel cared for. There are many reasons for adopting a grave, for example:

  • It is a grave of a relative or one of your ancestors
  • It commemorates a child
  • It is the burial place of a notable or interesting resident of Teddington
  • It is an outstanding but neglected memorial
  • It will help to maintain the churchyard’s biodiversity in the face of climate change

Every few months, a date and time is set aside for adopters to meet, share experiences and seek any further guidance on how to optimise the approach. If you are interested please contact: parishhall@stmarywithstalban.org.