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 from the Archdeacon, on behalf of the owners, to the Bishop of Blackburn for the removal of consecrated, or sacred, status from part of cemetery was withdrawn in May. This was because of concerns which were raised by objectors 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.
Ever since the site was sold off by the health authority in 2000, there have been local people and family members raising concerns about the graveyard. From the autumn of 2017, more voices were added to those which had campaigned tirelessly over the years. In sum, there is now a coalition of people comprising 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.
We will add more information to this post in due course. In the meantime please go to the group’s Facebook page.