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Matthew Storrs

grave digging- anyone do it?

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I used to do it about 10 years ago

 

you need to get in contact with undertakers and local council, only about 10% of my work came from council because if they could get mini diggers in they'd do it themselves

 

It payed £250 per grave 10 years ago and would on average take 5 hours to dig out and fill back in

 

be careful when working in grave yards with shingle/stoney ground especially if on a slope, one time we were digging out a grave and a yellow stinking goo kept coming in from the grave uphill from it

 

Also watch out if it's raining a lot, one time it was pouring down and a relative hung around after the service (probably saying last respect) for too long and by the time we got to filling it it there was over 10inches of water and the coffin was floating, after trying to empty out the water and trying to weigh it down we decided the only way to sink the coffin was to smash holes in it with a pick to let the water in, it worked but i'm not sure the relatives would be happy

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When I was at Berks Collage of Agriculture doing my PA1 PA6A the instructor was telling us they ran grave digging courses, apparently the fastest digger in the country was a woman who lived near Oxford.....dug 8 graves in a day. (why do I retain all this knowledge I don't know)

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reopening was the best

 

digging ground that's already been dug is so much easier

 

never had a problem with rotting wood etc but to be fair that wouldn't have bothered me anyway

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My first job. Worked with a great chap and a couple of plonkers but really enjoyed it. If I hadn't be made redundant, I reckon I'd still be digging.

 

They were just bringing in machinery when I started. Though the two cemeteries I covered, both had graves about 8"-12" apart, so JCB was only used to rough out new graves in hard ground, (if the whether was good enough for it to get up the mountains. Both the cemeteries were on top of mountains.) All the rest were dug by hand, be they re-openers, new in soft ground or exhumations.

 

Grass cutting was either a Flymo, 8" Hayter or hand shears. And the first Husky strimmers were trialled with us. Strimmers were fast but the Hayter got a cracking finish, could get between most graves and ran for ages on a single tank of straight fuel.

 

You got to spend hours on your tod and sometimes only saw one other person during the day. Dry stoneless soil was the easiest digging and wet heavy clay was the worst, (sometimes with limestone boulders included). It could take 30mins. to break down some stones with a sledge hammer, smaller enough to heft out of the grave. Hard graft but strangely enjoyable - except in the middle of winter, when temps. were well below freezing. You'd be clearing 2ft. of snow off the top, before hand digging the grave. Then have to shovel the internal paths and roads. And on the day, wait till the last mourner had slid their way out of the gates, before filling in the grave the best you could with frozen lumps earth.

 

As I say, overall I liked it and quite miss it.

Edited by TGB

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Well? I don't at present but is something I may look into. Wondering what certification if any may be required. I have a digger and wouldn't mind manually digging them by hand if needed.

I like the idea of being able to offer this service to the local country churches in this area, but perhaps its the sort of thing which gets sown up pretty quickly.

Could be relitively steady/reliable source of income....

 

There must already be someone doing it in the area.

 

One of my customers is a grave digger (when required) landscape gardener most of the other time. All dug by hand and his charge is £390 pound per plot.

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Was one of the first jobs a mate of mine had when he went on YTS at the local timber yard/funeral directors, they sent him off to dig a grave up in the peak district with a pick and shovel, this particular place only has about 6-12 inches of soil before you hit limestone bedrock, lukcily he wasnt as green as he was grass looking and niupped down the road and borrowed a compressor and jack hammer off another mate of ours, don't think he ever told them back at the yyard how he got it out so quick and neat :laugh1:

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Nearly had to dig one last week (reopening) but fortunately they paid and got the 2 council lads in. It had to be done by hand as up a path through a gate and up a steep hill.

They did a very neat job, shored up the sides, built up battens round the hole to have something level to stand on and covered it all in the butchers astroturf stuff!:thumbup1:

 

Defiantly a skilled job!

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