TEENAGER Emily Hirst is keeping up the family tradition of public service by getting her friends to turn a disused cemetery building into a quiet space for reflection.
The 15-year-old, whose grandfather James was mayor of Blackburn with Darwen and whose uncle Stuart is leader of Ribble Valley Borough Council, has inspired a team of her pals to join in the community project.
They will turn the vacant building at Pleasington Cemetery a quiet space for people to reflect on their loved ones who have passed away.
Emily, of Heys Lane, Blackburn, decided to start the community project in order to complete a module for her Commonwealth Award after spotting a disused structure.
She plans, along with help from her friends at St Peter’s Guides and Emmanuel Guides to paint the building, add extra lights, a book of remembrance and furniture to make a special place for people to relax and remember those who have passed away.
Emily got in touch with the Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Young People’s Service and also the Environment Department for support. Local stonemason Brent Stevenson is also lending his expertise to the project.
The young leader at St Peter’s Guides and a student at St Bede’s High School will be giving up her weekends to restore the building.
Cllr James Hirst, who was mayor of Blackburn with Darwen in 2009/2010 and a former leader of the Tory group on the borough council, passed away aged 87 in December last year.
His son Stuart, Tory leader of neighbour Ribble Valley Borough Council, said: “This is wonderful project.
“Emily clearly has the family commitment to public service.
“I and my brother Ian are very proud of her, as my father would have been.
“She is really committed to helping others.”
Cllr Mohammed Khan, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “This is a wonderful project and it is great to see young people doing work like this.
“Emily has taken on board the spirit of the borough’s ‘Your Call’ campaign and I am sure many people will benefit from this special room she plans on creating.”
Cllr Jim Smith, executive member for environment, said: “I am really pleased that Emily has been able to do this.”
Emily was nominated for a Good Neighbour Award earlier this year.
Article taken from the Lancashire Telegraph – 6th October 2016