THE mother of Steven Dyson is aiming to transform a run-down cemetery where her son is buried.

Lorraine Roach decided to clean up St Johns in the Wilderness Cemetery, in Whalley Road, Shuttleworth earlier this year after witnessing the neglected state that some of the graves were in.

And with the help of family and friends, she has carried out numerous clean-ups at the cemetery over the last few months.

So far, the group have managed to tackle the overgrown grass, as well as clearing brambles from a number of head stones.

In June, an inquest found that Steven, aged 22, drowned after he was last seen at 9am on New Year’s Day leaving a party in St Andrew’s Close, Ramsbottom.

He was reported missing by his mother later that day, sparking a police search of Nuttall Park and the surrounding area.

In the days that followed, members of the public formed organised search parties in a bid to assist police, before a body was eventually found in the River Irwell in nearby Summerseat on January 6.

And Ms Roach says tidying up the cemetery is her way of giving back for the support shown to her.

She added: “I wanted to give something back to the community of Ramsbottom for how they rallied around to help me.

“I go up all the time with Steven being buried up there. I looked around and it was in a state of disrepair. All of the old graves are covered up and you could not even see the headstones.

“It is a crying shame because some of those graves are from the 1800s and 1900s. I would feel so sad if my son’s grave looked like that.

“People deserve to be remembered and have a bit of TLC on their graves.”

Volunteers will carry out their next clean-up at 10am on Sunday, October 7, and are appealing for others to offer a helping hand.

“There is still a lot to do,” said Ms Roach. “There are about 100 more graves to uncover but they are covered in thick brambles.

“Our objective for this year is to uncover all the graves, but we need some help because it is a big area.”

For more information on the project, visit