Sheffield people rediscover the hidden gem of local military influence and nature reserve

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The obelisk commemorates the soldiers who died at the Hillsborough Barracks during 1866-1869

A community group is bringing the past back to life with a project to restore the graves, including those of fallen heroes.

The Friends of Wardsend Cemetry aims to conserve the military influence, local history and natural reserve of the Victorian Wardsend Cemetery.

One of those graves is of Lieutenant George Lambert VC, who was honoured with the most prestigious military award died in 1860, the Hillsborough Barrack. His body was buried in the Wardsend cemetery.

‘The memorial is not a war memorial but we use it as one. We have partnership with the sea cadets because of their military links, they feel an association with the cemetery and they join our fourth wreath laying last year and over hundred people come to the cemetery for the remembrance of this,’ says Howard Bayley, the chair of Friends of Wardsend cemetery.

It is also a resting place for British soldiers who sacrificed in the world wars and about 20 of over 300 victims in the Sheffield Great flood in 1864.

The long neglected Victorian site was filled with beer cans and drug needles when members of the Friends of Wardsend cemetery started to clean up the place.

Local Councillor Tony Damms says, ‘They are taking a realistic way on it, they are looking how to bring it back to use, such as walking trails and wild life there.’

The council has lifted the parking restrictions near the cemetery to allow more car parking. There is 140 meters parking space behind the white gate. It is open to the public for bigger events.

The Friends of Wardsend cemetery is organising an event to celebrate the 160 Anniversary of the cemetery on 25 June.

‘I’m very supportive of the Friends of Wardsend Cemetery’s plans to organise an event on the site, it sounds like it will be fantastic. I would love to see the site cleared and up and restored properly,’ said Gill Furniss MP of Sheffield, Bridgeside and Hillsborough.

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