About the National Federation of Cemetery Friends
The formation of the National Federation of Cemetery Friends (NFCF) was the result of heritage- and conservation-minded voluntary groups, concerned about the decline in care of our Victorian cemeteries, contacting each other. The threat to these important burial grounds from developers and negligent owners and managers of the cemeteries was the motivation to the conservationists to make a positive and practical stand. In some cases local groups formed specifically to influence public opinion against a threat to a particular cemetery and later started researching the heritage and ‘promoting’ the site with guided walks. In other cases the Friends formed either to preserve the flora and fauna or to make the cemetery more widely appreciated by leading walks, publishing guide books and giving talks. Many now work with schools to encourage educational visits.
The Federation was set up in 1986 with about 12 groups and now has over 80 Friends members throughout the UK actively caring for cemeteries and churchyards, as well as organisations and individuals with complementary interests as Associates. It is represented on the government’s Burial and Cremation Advisory Group (BCAG) and has contributed to research on cemetery management and burial legislation. European links are established through membership of the Association of Significant Cemeteries in Europe (ASCE). Saving Cemeteries is the NFCF’s handbook for starting and running a voluntary group and the Federation also published a bi-annual newsletter.
The Friends meet for the Annual General Meeting, hosted by a member group in a different location every year, with the added incentive of a guided walk around the host’s cemetery. Members welcome the opportunity to visit stands of other societies, share problems and learn of updates on current issues such as monument safety or digital memorial recording. New members are made very welcome, and often helpful contact and friendship is established between Friends groups and they exchange visits.