In July 2018 the graveyard of Calderstones, with its remains of upwards of 1200 former residents, continues to be under threat from private owners who wish to use the site for a crematorium and carpark.
A request to the Bishop of Blackburn from the owners to remove consecrated, or sacred, status from part of cemetery was refused in May. This was because of concerns over the exact location of a Garden of Remembrance, in which are interred the ashes of 211 people with learning difficulties. However, there are strong signs that the owners are still determined to find ways of pushing ahead with their plans.
From the autumn of 2017, a loose coalition of people has come together to fight for this site to be given the respect and dignity it deserves. Those raising their voices include people with learning difficulties, some of whom lived in Calderstones, relatives of former residents, neighbours and members of the local community, former institutional staff as well as others who have a strong interest in the rights of people with learning difficulties. Amongst this group are one or two individuals who have given considerable time and energy to this issue over many years. (Another individual heavily involved sadly died in 2017.)
We will add more information to this post in due course. In the meantime please go to the group’s Facebook page.