YET again, the imminent lack of a burial provision in Tetbury is in the local news, and there remains dispute over the area located in/adjacent to (depending on your perspective) the Tetbury Memorial Recreation Ground.
The area in dispute is known locally as the Paddock, on paper as “plot 8” and apparently is also known as the “training ground” (according to the Trustees).
The Charity Commission order of December 27, 1973, records Plot 8 as part of the land to be sold to the Parish Council on the provision that it holds the land as a “trustee upon such charitable trusts for the provision and maintenance thereof a recreation ground and village hall for the benefit of the inhabitants of the Parishes of Tetbury and Tetbury Upton and the neighbourhood thereof.”
The Trustees have legal responsibility for the land, and an obligation to preserve it for the benefit of the inhabitants.
As I believe a significant number of the unelected Trustees represent sports clubs, I remain unconvinced that they are truly able represent the “inhabitants of Tetbury and Tetbury Upton”.
What the Trustees and indeed the representative of the Charity Commission appear to have overlooked is the definition of the word ‘Recreation’.
Recreation is not only sport.
A quick internet search tells me that Merriam-Webster has it as “refreshment of strength and spirits after work also: a means of refreshment or diversion: hobby.
Cambridge English dictionary has a definition of ‘(a way of) enjoying yourself when you are not working’ and my 1932 copy of the John Bull edition of the Oxford English dictionary defines Recreation as ‘the act of refreshing oneself or renewing one’s self after toil’.
The burial ground in Tetbury is a place where people come to remember those who have gone before them.
It is a place of memories and fondness and gives spiritual comfort for those who have lost loved ones.
And people talk to their dead. They share their news.
In warm weather people come and sit and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Genealogists visit, sometimes from the other side of the world, to connect with their history.
Nature thrives here – home to hedgehogs and birds and the display of cyclamen each year is incredibly uplifting.
If these experiences are not Recreation, what are they?
It is more a memorial garden than it is as described in the cold, clinical words of “burial ground” and I see no conflict whatsoever with the with the terms of the 1973 assuming the “inhabitants of the Parishes” need an extension into the Paddock to continue their peaceful recreation for generations to come.
Is the wrong question being asked of the Charity Commission?