National Federation of Cemetery Friends

The National Federation of Cemetery Friends represents groups of volunteers interested in conserving cemeteries large and small. The Cemetery Friends give their time clearing and maintaining areas, often working with local ecology groups to maintain a balance between wildlife and heritage. Friends may also provide guided walks, open days and special events and work on projects with English Heritage and other organisations. Some groups have restored memorials and chapels.

Our associate members include trusts, councils, and organisations who manage cemeteries and burials and individual members who are not part of a Friends group but share in our values.

The Federation firmly supports safety in cemeteries both for the volunteers working within and members of the public visiting. NFCF has played a major role in persuading central government and local authorities that a balanced and non-confrontational approach should be taken in assessing the safety of headstones and kerbs. The wholesale destruction of graves and memorials on the vague umbrella of health and safety is unnecessary in many cases and we are grateful that firmer guidelines have been issued to local authorities stating that pressure testers are not the first route in assessing safety. In a thirty year period there have been 6 fatalities (in some of those cases of the vandals who were attempting to move heavy stonework) but in general cemeteries are safe havens enjoyed by the visiting public.

National Cemeteries Week 2022: 30th April-8th May

Not just for a week but all year round and in all weathers, many Cemetery Friends throughout the UK work hard to support the council owners in keeping their local cemetery tidy and safe. As the group develops, they may research the history behind the graves, lead tours, write publications and invite the community to come and meet them on Open Days.

They strike a balance between encouraging the flora and fauna and restoring significant buildings and monuments, after the important task of fundraising. The NFCF’s National Cemeteries Week is providing an opportunity to highlight this work and appeal for more volunteers. This year National Cemeteries Week overlaps with Dying Matters Awareness Week which also has events which may be of interest.

NFCF Members and Friends participating in 2022:

Saving Cemeteries ★ new edition ★

If you want to save a neglected cemetery or churchyard, or support and promote your local one, this is the book for you. An updated and revised edition now available. Click for more information.