Bid to repair grave of Doncaster rail pioneer

Symeon Waller pictured by the grave of Patrick Stirling, there is a campaign to restore the gravestones of the rail pioneer. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP 10-02-15 Stirling MC 1
Symeon Waller pictured by the grave of Patrick Stirling, there is a campaign to restore the gravestones of the rail pioneer. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP 10-02-15 Stirling MC 1
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A fundraising campaign has been launched to repair the crumbling last resting place of a man who helped put Doncaster on the railway map.

Locomotive engineer Patrick Stirling was one of the pioneers of the great railway boom of the Victorian era and his work helped to turn the town into a hub of the rail network.

But following his death more than 100 years ago, his grave in Hyde Park Cemetery has fallen into disrepair - and now a drive is underway to help restore the monument to its former glory.

Local historian and campaigner Symeon Waller, who is spearheading the push, said: “As we go about our daily lives it is easy to forget how the town’s prosperity owes so much to the pioneers of the Victorian era.

“A great deal of work has gone into improving the site but attention has now moved to restoring the monuments that have suffered the most.”

The first memorial to be renovated will be that of Stirling who was instrumental in transforming Doncaster’s railway fortunes in the latter days of Queen Victoria’s reign.

Born in 1820 in Scotland, Stirling, chief locomotive engineer for the Great Northern Railway from 1866 until 1895, was responsible for creating a locomotive which revolutionised the railways.

His father, the Rev Robert Stirling was also a railway engineer and set the wheels in motion for Patrick’s most famous creation, the 4-2-2 steam locomotive Stirling single called “eight-footer” because of the 8ft diameter driving wheel.

The engine type set speed records during the race to the north with an average speed of more than 60 mph in 1895 - the same year as Stirling died.

Because of his strong connection to Doncaster’s railway heritage and the family’s affinity with the town a grave plot was chosen at the Doncaster Cemetery, now called Hyde Park Cemetery.

Added Mr Waller: “Doncaster Cemetery had fallen by the wayside as plots became scarce and the Rose Hill cemetery was opened in 1934. However, thanks to the incredible work of the Friends of Hyde Park Cemetery, the cemetery is protected and cared for once more.”

The Stirling Appeal has now been created to raise the £1,440 needed to carry out the work.

You can help Friends of Hyde Park Cemetery meet the target by at www.fohpc.org.uk or by sending a cheque to Friends of Hyde Park Cemetery.