Community spirit out in force at Muslim Burial Ground

27 June 2014

Serving soldiers of the British Armed Forces, including members of the Armed Forces Muslim Association, showed their community spirit last week (Wednesday 18 June), when they volunteered their time to assist with vital ground preparation works at Woking's Muslim Burial Ground.

The soldiers, from regiments across the country, joined Horsell Common Preservation Society's Paul Rimmer, for the first of a series of voluntary community involvement days. The works involved reinforcing the perimeter walls and distributing top soil across the site in preparation of phase two of the project to create an Islamic-style peace garden.

The peace garden, offering a place of quiet contemplation and remembrance, will feature 27 Himalayan Birch trees representing the original number of servicemen buried at the site, water feature incorporating a memorial stone bearing the names of those once buried at the site, bold strips of pink and white heather orientated towards Mecca, two stone ceremonial prayer mats and benches for quiet contemplation. A footpath to Monument Road will be created and CCTV cameras installed as part of the project.

Cllr John Kingsbury, Leader of Woking Borough Council, said: "We are delighted to have obtained the services of the British Armed Forces. The Muslim Burial Ground is an important heritage site for the Armed Forces and their support and good-will in assisting us to restore the site to its former glory is greatly appreciated. We look forward to their further involvement during the construction of the peace garden. Once complete, the site will host annual memorial services for the local community and Armed Forces."

The first phase of renovation works to the Muslim Burial Ground was successfully completed on Tuesday 10 June 2014, when a gilded finial adorning the top of the entrance Chettri and ornate gates were installed.

Funding to enable the next phase of the project was obtained from the Armed Forces Community Covenant Grant Scheme; Department for Communities and Local Government; Shah Jahan Mosque; Government of the Sultanate of Oman; and Surrey County Council's Community Improvements Fund.

The project is being run in partnership between Horsell Common Preservation Society, owners of the site, and Woking Borough Council.

For further information on the Muslim Burial Ground, please email mbg@woking.gov.uk or visit www.woking.gov.uk/muslimburialground or www.horsellcommon.co.uk