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A job well done for ‘heartwarming’ volunteers who saved Hampstead Cemetery from Covid-19 closure

PUBLISHED: 16:37 08 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:18 08 July 2020

Volunteers from the Friends of Hampstead Cemetery, pictured on July 5 -  their final day of duty. Picture: Friends of Hampstead Cemetery

Volunteers from the Friends of Hampstead Cemetery, pictured on July 5 - their final day of duty. Picture: Friends of Hampstead Cemetery

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Valiant volunteers who kept Hampstead Cemetery open through the pandemic handed the keys back to the council on Sunday (July 5).

The helpers stepped in from April 23 to keep the cemetery open and make sure residents had a local space to visit in lockdown. Picture: Friends of Hampstead CemeteryThe helpers stepped in from April 23 to keep the cemetery open and make sure residents had a local space to visit in lockdown. Picture: Friends of Hampstead Cemetery

Since April 23 a team of 23 helpers, organised by the Friends of Hampstead Cemetery, have every day opened and closed the burial ground in Fortune Green Road, West Hampstead.

The community effort followed staff shortages of Islington and Camden Cemetery Services from the coronavirus crisis.

Now, the helpers’ efforts are complete, with the council able to resume its responsibilities.

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Friends of Hampstead Cemetery vice-chair Erich Wagner said: “The volunteers have performed superbly and the team spirit and sense of camaraderie was heartwarming.

“Many visitors have come up and thanked us, saying how important it was for them.”

Opened in 1876, Hampstead Cemetery is Camden’s smallest public cemetery.

In 2000 it was declared full to new graves, with only ashes and reburial in existing plots taking place.

Now back under council control, Hampstead Cemetery is expected to retain the same opening hours - 7.30am to 4pm.

READ MORE: Hampstead Cemetery saved from closure as volunteers step in for stretched council services


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