Sunday, 14 October 2012

Green-fingered team give up their time to uncover lost graves

LENDING A HAND: Volunteers from Signpost One help clear the grounds of Holy Trinity Church

After reading our story, Anthony Jeffrey decided something needed to be done. It was his idea which led to a 15-strong team taking on the challenge of uncovering graves, strimming the grass and clearing the paths.

Mr Jeffrey, 34, who has been involved with Signposts Luton since March, thought it would be the perfect project and took it to the deputy manager of Signposts One who began to put the plans in motion.

Signposts Luton is an umbrella term for six different projects, each with its own specialist remit and aims.
The organisation comprises ten separate project buildings across Luton and Dunstable, overseen by dedicated project managers and staff teams.

Phyl Rainey, who is deputy manager of Signposts One in Luton, which is a 16-bedded hostel in Dunstable Road, said: “It started last Monday when I came back from annual leave and Anthony came to me with the idea.

“Anthony pretty much read the piece in Luton On Sunday and wanted to react quickly.
“We had no equipment and no team but I was confident we could do it.
“HSS Hire has kindly donated all the equipment for us to use and we got a team together.
“There is massive discrimination that homeless people are all about drugs and alcohol but you have a whole mix of people.
“These people are willing to do things like this free of charge, which we have done, but this is by far the biggest thing we’ve taken on.
“I am just really proud that so many of these people have got involved and are absolutely committed to getting the job done.
“There is no payment, it’s totally voluntary and it’s inspiring. The story was a catalyst and it’s just brilliant.”
Ann Dilks, branch manager of HSS Hire in Windmill Trading Estate Thistle Road, Luton, said: “I got a phone call from Phyl about this and I had read the story when it was published.

“I rang around and spoke to the different managers who were 100 per cent behind providing the equipment. We’ll provide it until they finish the job.

“I think this is something that should be done more often.” The group, which worked until Thursday, plan to return to the church at a later date to complete
the job. Mr Jeffrey said: “I like doing things like this because it gives you something to do in the community and it’s for my own sanity.

“It’s also for the wellbeing of everyone involved.
“I’m quite overwhelmed with how the work has gone so far.” William Raghu, 72, is the church warden and said the response the church has received is ‘beyond expectation’.

Mr Raghu said: “We’ve been trying for years to get some help from the community to try to make this churchyard somewhere one can come and visit their loved ones.

“It took an article from Luton on Sunday to get a response. We are extremely grateful for the community support and for Signposts One who have responded to the article.

“We will try from here on to maintain it with our limited resources.
“Any donations are of course welcome from the community.”
If you would like more information on what Signposts does visit

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