Organisers of an annual ‘coffin walk’ held to replicate a journey made by mourners 150 years ago say this year’s event will be held in memory of one of the walk’s biggest supporters.
The Brinsley Coffin Walk, which re-creates the trek undertaken by families who had to travel to the neighbouring village to bury their dead, takes place each July, and this year will remember local church goer Doreen Lockett.
Doreen, a much-loved historian and parishioner in Greasley who died last year, greeted the walkers at the end of the trek and and led a service in St Mary’s church graveyard.
The coffin walk, a community event co-ordinated with local churches, is led by Joanne Hutsby from Gillotts Funeral Directors in Eastwood.
She said: “Doreen was a wonderful supporter of the walk and was so proud of the tradition and the history associated with it. The walk is hard, and she was always a welcome sight when we arrived at the churchyard in Greasley.
“Her role was to conduct a short symbolic service like the vicar at St Mary’s would have done 150 years ago, after which she would serve us all some much-appreciated tea, coffee and biscuits.
“Everybody associated with the walk is very sad that she won’t be there to perform the same duties for us this year, which is why we want to hold the event in her memory.
“We haven’t decided who will step into her role, but they have big shoes to fill.”
The coffin walk has been held every year for the past 12 years after it was first staged to demonstrate how hard life was for grieving villagers who had to carry their loved ones’ coffins across the fields to St Mary’s Church in Greasley, three miles away, because the village did not have its own church.
The tradition stopped in 1861 when St James Church in Brinsley opened, but the journey was revived by Brinsley historian Stan Smith to illustrate how difficult it was for people hyears ago.
The walk will start at Brinsley Church at 9.30am on July 28, and it is free to take part.
Doreen, 74, who was also a parishioner at Newthorpe Baptist Church, collapsed whilst out shopping in Eastwood in November last year.