HISTORIC Lye and Wollescote Cemetery will be hosting a public open day next Saturday (September 10) as part of the national Heritage Open Weekend initiative.

As part of the open day scheme, the cemetery’s friends group will offer guided talks of the graveyard, telling the fascinating stories of some of the people who helped shape the history of Lye.

The Cemetery Road site will be open all day, with refreshments available between 10am and 3pm, and tours taking place at 10.30am and 12.30pm.

Built in 1879, the cemetery chapels were recently restored and renamed the Thomas Robinson Building and is now used for marriage ceremonies and as one of Dudley Council’s registry offices.

The ceremony room and reception area, including two stained glass windows inspired by local students, will also be open to the public on the day from 9.15am until noon, where volunteers from the West Midland Historic Buildings Trust will be on hand to tell visitors the story of the restoration of the building.

Sue Smith, friends group facilitator, said: “Our aim is to make the cemetery a welcoming, accessible place that celebrates the heritage of local people.

“We want to help to care for and improve the cemetery and we’d love to see lots of people at our open day, finding out more about the people and heritage of the Lye area.”

Throughout the day, the friends group will be selling plants, including holly bushes ‘rescued’ by the volunteers during their recent weeding and grave-clearing sessions, and two books by local authors Jean Weston and Marlene Price.

The first is on the intriguing history of the cemetery and the chapels, and the second tells the stories of First World War soldiers who are buried or commemorated in the cemetery.

For more information about the friends group, including how to become a member, visit www.lyeandwollescote.info/friends.htm