The head of mental health charity Mind will officially open a memorial garden at a Menston cemetery where almost 3,000 psychiatric patients were buried in unmarked graves.

Chief executive officer of Mind, Paul Farmer, is to perform the opening ceremony at Friends of High Royds Memorial Garden, Buckle Lane, on Saturday.

The garden was created by the community group to restore dignity to the place where 2,861 former patients of High Royds were buried in unmarked paupers’ graves. Its opening is the culmination of three years of work, including lengthy legal debate.

The Friends became legal owners of the land last year and are continuing to work on the restoration of the cemetery chapel.

The group gained Lottery funding for the project, but has also raised much of the money through a shareholder scheme involving local people and families of former patients, as well as holding fundraising events.

The hospital closed in 2003. The main building has been converted to apartments and a housing development has been built in the grounds.

Mind lobbies the Government and local authorities on mental health issues and works to raise public awareness and understanding. It also offers information and advice to people with mental health problems, and linked local Mind associations provide a variety of services.

Mr Farmer will jointly open the garden with the Reverend Ruth Yeoman, vicar of St John’s Parish Church in Menston and chairman of Menston and Burley-in-Wharfedale’s Churches Together, who will bless the gardens at the ceremony.

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