The old Rustington Burial Ground, let the dead rest in peace….

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June 7, 2015 by Whispering Smith

Whispering Smith column published in the Littlehampton Gazette May 28th. 2015

RUSTINGTON historian Mary Taylor had a dream, she wanted to ensure that the covenant decreeing that there should be a memorial garden on the site of the old Rustington burial ground in Brookside Avenue would be honoured. She felt, and rightly so, that the fifty seven persons still interred on the site should be remembered, their passing not forgotten. The story was picked up by the then  editor of the Gazette Roger Green and later through this column and there the matter lay dormant, a ship very much in need of a skipper to steer her through some tricky and perhaps stormy waters. I am delighted to tell you that there is now a steady pair of hands at the helm in the person of Sue Sula, founder of facebook’s  excellent Rustington Past and Present site. Sue, a local lass who remembers playing on the site as a child, has done her homework and already, with the help of a group of stalwart volunteers, seen to it that the burial ground has been cleared of brambles, weeds and various lumps of, detritus including discarded household rubbish, plastic bottles, an old football and unwanted lumps of concrete. Sue feels it is now the right time to enter stage two of the exercise and that is where you can join in and become part of this very worthy project. An informal open meeting is to be held at Rustington’s Woodlands Centre this coming Saturday from 11.00 to 3.00 pm and your interest and company are essential and should you feel you can contribute in any small way you will be heartily welcomed aboard. Not just through a working contribution of labour but ideas, memories and, if you have them, photographs. When the project was first mentioned here there were many local anecdotes offered me, stories of ghostly apparitions, noises in the night, bodies being moved at dawn and the most common, that eerie graveyard chill experienced by night-time passer’s by most of whom had no idea they were passing a burial ground such was the decline of the site into a rubbish tip. Do come along if you can make it, it is for Rustington but it is for us all really, their dead deserve our attention and your participation in any small way will help this particular dream come true. MORE useless words: A phrase much loved by liars, ‘to be honest with you’ why would they consider being otherwise unless, of course, that person were a politician or someone trying to sell you something? The words ‘like’ ‘right’ and ‘okay’ so beloved of so many that they interject them after every other word of a conversation is commonplace.    

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