www.barrowvoice.co.uk First Publised 1975
Barrow Voice
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Jim Hardy's Gift To The Village

Jim Hardy stepped into Barrow’s Cemetery Chapel on Cotes Road for the first time when he was asked by a member of the Parish Council to take a look at the floor to see if repairs could be done. When he entered he noticed a very bare wall that, to his mind, was crying out for an altar. Having always wanted to gift something to the village he decided that he would make one.

Looking through a book entitled ‘Gimson and the Barnsley’ he was struck by a sketch of a cross. It was of a carved stone cross at Torcello in Italy made by the famous craftsman Ernest Gimson. Jim is a devotee of him, and from that moment he was inspired to make a cross to go on the altar.

Originally the cross was going to be fairly plain, but during the carving of it, Jim's wife Pem died: they had been married for 58 years. Jim decided that the cross would not only be a gift to the village but also a memorial to his wife, so the carving became more intricate. The cross is carved out of teak, with climbing plants and boxwood flowers to represent Pem's love of gardening and her favourite colour yellow. The workmanship is incredible. The boxwood flowers were made separately, with the centres being thicker than the petals to enable small screws to be inserted to fix the flowers to the cross. The hole was then inf lled with a mahogany plug.

The work on the cross began in 2017. It is difficult for Jim to estimate how many hours went into the carving but he worked on it for a year. The altar was also made in teak. All the wood came from Jim’s workshop but he had to buy steel brackets to attach the altar to the wall of the chapel. To add the finishing touches, Jim had simple candlesticks made and bought candles to place in them. The overall effect is stunning. I am sure that the Parish Council, and the village, are very grateful for the wonderful gift that Jim has given to the village and are in awe of his craftsmanship.

But a little history to explain why there is cemetery on Cotes Road. In 1893 the church wardens were given notice that the churchyard surrounding Holy Trinity was to close for burials so a Burial Board was formed. Seven members searched for land for a new cemetery and land on Cotes Road was chosen. The cost of the land and the chapel was £1,700. The land and chapel were dedicated on March 30th 1895 and the first burial, a Mrs Fanny Jaques, took place on April 21st 1895. The Parish Council has the care and maintenance of the Cemetery Chapel and the grounds. The chapel is open several times a year including Easter Sunday, Mother's Day, Father's Day and Remembrance Sunday. A visit to view this Victorian building is very worthwhile and while there you will get the opportunity to see and admire Jim Hardy's gift to the village.

Val Gillings