Couple fly 5,000 miles from USA to track family grave

David Brierley-Green, and his wife Lois, Mel Diack, George Hardman at the grave of Constance Evelyn Clements
David Brierley-Green, and his wife Lois, Mel Diack, George Hardman at the grave of Constance Evelyn Clements
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A relative of a former Calderstones hospital patient travelled from America to pay his respects at a long lost family grave.

Manchester-born engineer David Brierley-Green, and his wife Lois, made the 5,000-mile journey from their home in Oregon, USA, to Calderstones Hospital Cemetery to visit the grave of his great aunt Constance Evelyn Clements, who died in December, 1924, aged only 21.

While researching his family history, David discovered that he had a great aunt buried at Calderstones. The site of the grave was lost when the old graveyard at Calderstones Hospital was sold and the headstones removed. He contacted Whalley resident and community stalwart Mel Diack, who helped to identify the actual site by looking through records held at Clitheroe Library. The site was then restored by Whalley resident George Hardman.

David (75) was born in Manchester and trained as a bridge engineer working for British Railways. He and Lois emigrated to Canada in 1974 and then retired to Oregon, USA. He was aware of a young girl in the family, but the family never mentioned her; whilst researching his family birth and death certificates he learned that this girl, Constance, had died from tuberculosis at Calderstones Hospital.

Mel MBE said: “David contacted me and we arranged for the site to be restored for the visit where a short service was said for Constance by Clifford Ball from St Mary’s Parish Church, Whalley. The grave took a lot of research and finding as the area is totally neglected and overgrown. Only through George’s hard work has the grave been put back to anything respectable with a small plaque dedicated to the three former patients buried in plot number 85. “The couple thanked George and I for our assistance in locating and restoring the grave.”