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Sheffield World War One graves ‘left in a mess’

Peter Yates in St Thomas' Church graveyard, where the grave of World War One soldier James Dickinson is among the overgrown weeds and bushes.

Peter Yates in St Thomas' Church graveyard, where the grave of World War One soldier James Dickinson is among the overgrown weeds and bushes.

Japanese knotweed has almost completely covered a war grave in a Sheffield cemetery - with council bosses saying they are ‘unable’ to clear the invasive plant from the memorial.

The grave of Private John James Dickinson, who was 22 when he died in World War I, is covered by undergrowth at the former St Thomas Church graveyard.

Local man Peter Yates, who lives close to the former church on Holywell Road near Meadowhall, said he is saddened by the state of the grave, and the level of repair of two other war graves belonging to men called William Kent and Lewis Barwell at the site.

The former church is now used as a circus school, but its small attached cemetery is the responsibility of Sheffield Council.

Mr Yates said: “With what these men did for us, it is not fair. They gave their lives for a cause.

“When you go abroad, the graves are spotless. But in our country they are just forgotten.”

David Hargate, head of parks and public realm for Sheffield Council, said the council is treating the Japanese knotweed infestation but could not touch the grave itself.

“We maintain the grounds to the correct standard and the Japanese knotweed is being treated, but this can take a number of years before it can be eradicated,” he said.

“Regrettably we are not in a position to undertake any work on the actual graves and memorials, which are owned by the families of the deceased.”

 

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