- Category: About Us
- Published: Friday, 18 December 2009 18:36
You can help us make a difference!
Arnos Vale Cemetery is a special place. However, it was almost lost forever in the 1980s due to the threat of commercial development. In response to this threat, the Friends of Arnos Vale Cemetery formed a successful mass campaign to save the cemetery from destruction.
Help us keep the cemetery open
The cemetery is now managed by Arnos Vale Trust, so it is safe from immediate danger. However, it costs thousands of pounds each year to look after the graves, pathways and landscape, as well as to maintain public access throughout the year. The Trust receives no government or council funding and is therefore reliant on public support to maintain and enhance the cemetery. The Friends provide vital financial support to Arnos Vale Trust through membership subscription and fundraising and the Friends have contributed over £100,000 to the cemetery’s restoration program. Without the generous support of members, it would not be possible to maintain the cemetery to its current standards.
Join the Friends - Download a membership form
The Friends also support the cemetery through vital volunteer roles, including:-
We are currently fundraising for the Endowment Challenge, with all money being matched £ for £ by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Any support you can offer us – however big or small – will help save the cemetery forever.
How the Friends saved Arnos Vale
In the late 1980s, Arnos Vale Cemetery reached a critical situation. Burial space ran out and income dwindled, resulting in less money to pay for staff and much reduced maintenance. Many of the once-splendid memorials toppled and the grounds became overgrown as wind-born seeds of ash and sycamore took root, paths and open spaces became choked with bramble, bindweed and knotweed. In 1987, alarmed by a press report that the then owners wanted to clear a large section for commercial development, a group of concerned local people came together to oppose the proposals, with the aim of winning long-term protection for the cemetery as a heritage asset. The group, originally called the 'Association for the Preservation of Arnos Vale Cemetery' APAC but since renamed the Friends of Arnos Vale Cemetery, galvanized a mass campaign, attracting wide-scale support, from organisations including Bristol City Council, the Bristol Evening Post, local citizens and many other people worldwide.
After huge efforts, many setbacks and legal wrangles, Bristol City Council finally became the new owners of Arnos Vale in 2003, and a Charitable Trust was set up to restore and protect the cemetery. The cemetery is now managed by Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust so there is no longer a need for a separate campaigning group to save the cemetery. The Friends are now proud to support the Trust through membership subscriptions and volunteering.