The Church employs a contractor to cut the grass and to remove non-compostable rubbish for nine months of the year, but all other tasks except the digging of graves are carried out all year round by volunteers from within the church community - the "Churchyard Team". Because they meet on Tuesdays, they are also referred to as the "Tuesday Team".The church also organises several working days during each year at weekends.
The Tuesday Team
The team grew from a handful of retired ‘gentlemen’ who on an entirely ad-hoc basis carried out various tasks in and around St. Giles Church and St. Giles Centre, and in the very early days also at St. Nicholas Church.
Over a considerable number of years this embryo has evolved into a dedicated volunteer group of retired men and women, numbering over 20, who turn up on Tuesday mornings ready and willing to tackle a variety of jobs, being paid only in coffee and biscuits.
Saturday Working DaysThe church organises several working days during each year at weekends, when community members who are not available during the week are very welcome to come along and contribute to the maintenance of the churchyard.
Trees and Hedges
The start of 2014 was very busy for the Churchyard Team. Visitors
to the churchyard would have noticed two significant
Firstly, on Boxing Day a large pine tree came down in the churchyard during the high winds. The team cleared away the small branches during January, in readiness for professional tree surgeons to come in and cut up the main trunk for disposal. Luckily only a very small number of grave monuments were disturbed. Tree surgeons then attended, to cut up the fallen tree, and they also felled and cut up a second tree on the boundary line that was clearly dead. The photos below show the location before and after the trees had been removed.
Then, also in January, the boundary hedge between the churchyard and Church Field, planted after the purchase of extra land in 1994, was given a makeover. The hedge had grown considerably, and needed much more attention than the working team could give it. Therefore, it was suggested having it layered. This is a tradition which has been dying out, due to modern mechanical hedge cutting these days.
The cost of this operation was kindly donated by Paul Rason, in memory of his wife Denise who died in 2012, and whose grave is next to the hedge. Paul and his son have said they will help the working team maintain the hedge.
2016 Quinquennial ReportJust recently St Giles underwent its Quinquennial Report, which assesses and comments on the structure and upkeep of the church and its grounds.
The report comprises many pages, below is an extract from its conclusion which an outstanding commendation of all that is done by our churchyard team in the upkeep of St Giles and its Church Yard. On behalf of everyone who loves and cherishes St Giles thank you to Mr John Tinham and his team of volunteers.
“It is always a joy to visit St. Giles. The care and affection lavished on the building and churchyard are clear for all to see; that this care is almost seen as part of outreach and fellowship is an added bonus.
The care of the fabric at St. Giles is exemplary both in terms of regular maintenance and proactive works. This results in little large-scale concern for future repairs. The condition of the building is a credit to those organising the repairs and those committed to helping on a regular basis.”
St Giles Churchyard Birdboxes
If you take a walk around St Giles’ churchyard you may notice a number of bird boxes located in different sites.
All the boxes are inspected and cleaned each autumn. Most have evidence of regular use, and some boxes of both types have been used for nesting.