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Out-Going Mayor's Walk

Wednesday 9th May 2018

On another lovely sunny day (8th May), with scarcely a breath of wind, the FoSOC committee and members were honoured to take the Mayor of Southampton, Cllr. Les Harris, on a walk round part of the cemetery. This walk is always offered to the outgoing Mayor towards the end of his/her term of office. All four sections of the cemetery were visited.
In attendance were Chairman Billy, Secretary Val, Treasurer Ben, Ecology Officer, Surender, Projects Officer, Geoff together with committee member Jackie and member/volunteers Julia, Peter and Jean. Led by Geoff (our Founder Chairman), the locations chosen were shared with Secretary, Val while Surender talked with the Mayor about ecological matters at the cemetery, during the stroll up the main carriageway.
After Geoff had summarised the history of the cemetery and its buildings, noting that it is one of the Significant Cemeteries of Europe, Billy and the others present were able to explain to the Mayor FoSOC’s activities, working closely with the city council’s Bereavement Services section with conservation, and other related, work. This year, to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, we have plans for a practical, and permanent, commemoration within the cemetery (for which we already have approval) for all those, buried or commemorated there, who died serving their countries in that war.
Graves visited, with the Mayor, ranged from the very first burial in the cemetery to the first powered flight in this area, to the last of the British Officers from the Battle of Waterloo. Included, too, was FoSOC’s work in the restoration of the grave of Miss Maude Newman, for 28 years the Lady Visitor to the Southampton families in receipt of monies from the Titanic Relief Fund. At the Boer War memorial, Val explained how that, too, had been repaired and restored.
The centenary of Women’s Suffrage took us to the grave of Jane Terrero, who was imprisoned in 1912 and force fed. RFC and RAF ‘wings’ on headstones reminded of the centenary, this year, of the founding of the Royal Air Force.
At the end, the Mayor was presented with four FoSOC booklets. It was most pleasant for us to have enjoyed his company and we thank him for coming with us on the walk.