Flaybrick Cemetery – What will happen next? (Claughton byelection)

Flaybrick Cemetery – What will happen next? (Claughton byelection)

John Brace at Flaybrick Cemetery 28th April 2017

Flaybrick Cemetery – What will happen next? (Claughton byelection)


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Flaybrick Cemetery – What happens next?

John Brace at Flaybrick Cemetery 28th April 2017
John Brace at Flaybrick Cemetery 28th April 2017

Leonora recorded this brief video of myself speaking about the problems at Flaybrick Cemetery. I need to learn better to continue to face the camera as I’m speaking as when I turn to refer to what’s behind me, sound quality can be an issue.

Flaybrick Cemetery over the years has had problems with flytipping and damage to its walls. The area I filmed in called Crossways is mainly Magenta Living properties, but many are vacant. Cllr Steve Foulkes (one of the existing Claughton councillors is one of Wirral Council appointed directors of Magenta Living (formerly called Wirral Partnership Homes)). Since the vacancies have increased the problems with flytipping have increased.

After the video was filmed and I was heading back home a resident talked to us and wanted it to be improved.

Although there are longer quotes in the video, I include below quotes from a Labour councillor for this area Brian Kenny and the Lib Dem candidate for Claughton ward David Evans.

People go to vote in Claughton on Thursday 4th May 2017 for both their local councillor and Metro Mayor and the election result is expected on Friday 5th May 2017.

Response from Liberal Democrats (David Evans – candidate for Claughton ward) sent on 27th April

From: David Evans drcynlaisevans@btinternet.com

Hi John

I have family members interred in Flaybrick and I am saddened not only by the flytipping but also the vandalism of the grave stones and the fabric of a site that is part of the history of Birkenhead.

Birkenhead Park, Bidston Hill and Flaybrick are fantastic assets and a vital part of the heritage of Birkenhead – Flaybrick is similar in many ways to Highgate Cemetery and is much loved by the community as evidenced by the current work to preserve the chapels (although I understand that this is due to the efforts of a local heritage group rather than the council)

Flytipping is also a problem around Bidston Hill and Noctorum (Thermopylae Pass) as is the regular setting alight of the gorse on Bidston Hill.

The council seems to be unconcerned about the importance of local heritage (see demise of Woodside Hotel and ESWA problems)

I would like to see a role for the return of “Park Police” to patrol these areas to act as a visible deterrent and contact point for locals to report incidences of anti social behaviour.

I would also like to see local kids encouraged to value these assets by way of community education about the history of the area, this could involve local volunteers and agencies visiting schools etc.

Maybe the money spent on Wirral View could be diverted to projects such as this…

As you can see, I am an idealist but Birkenhead Park was on its uppers until Friends of Birkenhead Park was set up so involvement of local action groups is vital.

There is much to be appreciated in and around Birkenhead.

Best Regards

Labour’s position (sent on the 18th April) from Cllr Brian Kenny briankenny@wirral.gov.uk:

Dear Mr & Mrs Brace

I thought you would be interested in this email exchange.
There has been a great deal of activity around Flaybrick Cemetery, over the last week or so.

I will shortly be attending a meeting, to discuss further improvements.

Many Thanks.

On 18 Apr 2017, at 12:30, Burrell, Joanna joannaburrell@wirral.gov.uk wrote:

We have asked probation to clean up these areas.
Dear Jo

Please see this email and attachments, sent to me a few minutes ago, by Jayne Phennah.
The original was sent to Brian Sinton.
As you can see, Jayne is very upset by this appalling situation.
I would be obliged if you could please have a look at this situation, Jo, and see if there is anything you can do to eliminate the problems.
Please let me know if you require any more details, or clarification.
I am also copying this to the Claughton Ward Councillors, for their information.

Many Thanks, Jo.

Brian Kenny
Labour Councillor for Bidston & St. James Wirral Labour Group Chief Whip
Hi Brian,

Spoke to my mum today and she took me up to the cemetery, at the roman catholic end, where the houses are. I was shocked at what I saw. A tree has come down and took the fence off the wall. So anyone can now access the cemetery though here. The tree that has fallen, has been chopped into sections and left sitting on the railings on the floor, on the outside of the cemetery. So the gates on the entrance from lower flaybrick road are a waste of time, due to a big section of the railings being underneath the fallen tree. I took some photos for you. Fell free to forward this email to the appropriate people. I will also send this to Julie and Brian who are local councillors in the area. Let me know what you think, it breaks my heart to see this!

If you click on any of the buttons below, you’ll be doing me a favour by sharing this article with other people.

Author: John Brace

New media journalist from Birkenhead, England who writes about Wirral Council. Published and promoted by John Brace, 134 Boundary Road, Bidston, CH43 7PH. Printed by UK Webhosting Ltd t/a Tsohost, 113-114 Buckingham Avenue, Slough, Berkshire, England, SL1 4PF.

5 thoughts on “Flaybrick Cemetery – What will happen next? (Claughton byelection)”

  1. Hello Mr brace.
    Through my email I wanted to highlight problems. I have been volunteering at flaybrick for nearly two years, clearing overgrowth and uncovering long lost headstones. I started volunteering with north birkenhead community organisers. Our goal was to start at one side of cemetery and work towards the roman catholic side. We are so close but in the past few months, barriers have been put in our way. I work alongside friends of flaybrick volunteer Brian Sinton. I am determined to finish what I set out to do. We owe it to the great people buried here. My fellow volunteers have been deterred from volunteering at flaybrick due to issues around what we should and shouldn’t do. I have myself volunteered at least once a week and we have never been given a work schedule until just recently. On the list of things to do, was to fill in potholes on pathways. Sorry but I took offence to this and informed frank field of the situation. Most of our volunteers are pensioners. I started this as I am passionate about our history. This place is so amazing and deserves a bit of TLC. This weekend I went alone and uncovered four more headstones. I am admin assistant on the Facebook group Birkenhead memories and every bit of work the volunteers have undertaken is documented on this group, before and after photos. I also have ancestors here and am living locally. My greatest achievement to date, was removing ivy from the perimeter wall of most of the site. When I sent the original email, I forgot who may read it. So there you go. Hope to hear from you soon!

    1. Thanks for your comment Jayne.

      I’m not sure if we have met before (it’s hard to tell from a black and white photo), but I’ve come into contact with other North Birkenhead Community Organisers who from what I remember are funded by Wirral Council.

      You may be interested that I wrote about similar problems at Flaybrick Cemetery in 2011 as it shows (I have some more photos taken on Friday which I haven’t yet published) thanks to the work of volunteers like yourself how much matters have improved.

      Having volunteered myself with organisations in the past, I know how problems can arise from both the volunteer’s perspective and the perspective of managing volunteers.

      One of the frustrations we had in 2011, over very similar issues in Flaybrick Cemetery, was that temporary budgets would be assigned by Wirral Council (for instance to fix the wall, clear up the flytipping, antisocial behaviour team etc), then the problems resolved on a temporary basis only flared up again later.

      I would like to write more than that in a comment, but as you can probably understand, due to the election in Claughton, our position is neutral on the the party political elements to it.

      As it has become an election issue, Wirral Council’s hands are probably tied between now and the election result being declared on Friday as they can’t be seen to be doing something that would benefit one side (or the other) that then a political party would take credit for.

      Thanks for pointing out the Facebook group, I will go and have a look at it.

  2. G’day John

    I take my hat off to people like this wonderful woman.

    It is a pity the 65 can’t do a working bee and actually do something worthwhile for wirral were they are just sucking the decency out of.

    Not just a photo shoot some actual honest work and they could even leave the deadbeats like the Jones’s and Davies’s behind.



    I am off volunteering at Clare House tomorrow.

    1. I’m glad you give praise where praise is due James!

      The 65 as you put it, based from what I’ve seen are busy campaigning in the elections that are on at the moment (general, byelection in Claughton, Mayoral).

      You probably won’t believe me James, but most people and politicians want the world to be a better place. It’s just sometimes there are disagreements as to which approach to use.

      1. G’day John

        As I see it it the only place the Davies’ Jones’s Foulkes Robinsons Tours of this world only want their tiny little worlds to be a better place and will go to any length.



        There is not a modicum of decency between them…..obvs.

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