VOLUNTEERS are needed to return an overgrown Heckmondwike cemetery to its former glory, says a campaigner.
Mike Popplewell wants the graveyard behind the Upper Chapel restored before some of the town’s rich history is lost forever.
He has spoken with church officials who believe the task is too big for them alone.
Mike, who has been researching his family tree there, hopes the public will lend a hand.
The grave of legendary textile magnate Edwin Firth is so overgrown it is now a dumping ground for rubbish.
Mike believes it is a form of desecration and said: “How is Edwin remembered? With a civic plaque or a small monument to his memory?
“No. The answer is in a pile of rubble used as a tip for empty beer cans and sweet wrappers.”
Mike added: “It’s private land and therefore beyond the responsibility of Kirklees Council.
“I spent a couple of hours this week cutting away brambles and overgrowth but it’s much too big a job for one man.”
Mike, of Roberson Terrace, Gomersal, said the mess meant he had trouble finding some of his family’s graves.
He said: “The Upper Independent Chapel burial ground is a ‘heritage site’ in all but name.
“Here lie many of the men and women who established Heckmondwike as a thriving market town from the 18th century onwards.
“The congregation is small and volunteers have the maintenance of church life itself as an understandable priority.
“So how can this unique piece of history be preserved and appreciated for future generations?”