IT’S TEAMWORK FOR THE HOLY MOWERS
If you ever pass through St Giles’ churchyard on a Tuesday morning, you will know that’s the day it really buzzes with the activity of that crack team of gardeners, the Holy Mowers.
The team has a new Chairman, and it’s Patricia Lee. Patricia has already served six years as part of this remarkable squad and now fills the post recently vacated by John Ralph. Modestly, she says, “Everybody else does more than me”, but the others beg to differ. Hardly surprising since she not only shares with the gardening tasks but also looks after the ordering of plants, and the servicing and replacement of equipment. “It’s teamwork that really gets the job done. Everyone pitches in, and it’s a good excuse for the tea and chocolate biscuits afterwards!”
“St Giles’ churchyard is one of Ickenham’s important places”, she continues. “It is much used not only by church and church-hall users but also by the Ickenham public, whether of faith or not, and whether they are just passing through or looking to stop and enjoy a place of tranquillity”. And, since the recent installation of the four new lampposts, it has become even more safe and popular.
The ‘Holy Mowers’ name was coined by the late and much-missed Daphne Kissane, who arranged for the printing of the team’s highly prized tee-shirts and sweatshirts. There are now 16 team members, (including two ladies, Patricia and Liz Senior), mostly well beyond retirement age. Most attend each Tuesday, come rain or shine, to keep the churchyard spick and span.
Eric Tripp is a recent recruit. Despite living at a distance, he is a regular member of the congregation, but now he also braves the journey from Shepherds’ Bush every Tuesday to join the attack on weeds and any twigs that are out of place. Pruning can be a particular challenge for the team, due to the churchyard’s status, since permission has to be obtained before any significant branches or trees can be removed. When this is required, Patricia can call on the assistance of David Edington, not a Holy Mower himself, but a willing and generous helper when big or inaccessible jobs need attention.
Liz Senior is another newcomer and, despite having her own garden to contend with, she enjoys the extra activity, welcoming the Mowers’ humorous sociability and combined wealth of gardening knowledge. One of the most knowledgeable is Howard Mellor who has been busy in the Garden of Remembrance planting a new variety of tulip called ‘Olympic Flame’, a good choice given the nation’s forthcoming big event.
The team’s biggest annual task is grass cutting, particularly challenging having to mow between the hundreds of graves, set out over the centuries in a relatively random pattern. But these valiant workers take it all in their stride. And they are a friendly bunch, so potential new team members will never be turned away! Similarly, donations towards the upkeep of the churchyard will always be welcomed. You can contact Patricia on 07913 430989.
The team are planning a coffee and cake stall in the churchyard during this year’s Festival Week (on Tuesday 19th June - more details nearer the time.) But don’t leave it that long before next wandering through this little haven; and when you do, spare a thought for the Holy Mowers, ably led by ‘pocket dynamo’ Patricia.
DROP-IN FOR THE BEREAVED. Third Monday of each month. St Giles’ Church Hall, 2pm to 3.30pm. A friendly, informal opportunity for a chat, over a cup of tea, with other bereaved people and bereavement visitors. The next meeting is on Monday 19th March (then Monday 16th April). Just come along, or ring the Rectory (622970) if you would like to talk to someone first.