St James' Church sits on a prominent knoll and on a sunny day it’s obvious that 'Breightmet' (pronounced Brate-met), a name which originates from Bright Meadow, is a great name for a great place. Rob Bakewell leads the project, blending historical preservation and ecological development in caring for this urban burial place whilst creating a haven for wildlife.
Rob hails from Blackburn and his journey began as a young lad with early encounters of wildlife in Corporation Park, where he and his friends enjoyed collecting tadpoles in jam jars, bird-spotting through cheap binoculars and the sheer freedom of being out and about in all weathers. “We had a small back garden and I made a bird box which was used by a family of blue tits,” Rob says. “It was great to watch the dedication of the parents as they worked tirelessly feeding their young and in some way I had helped them along by giving them a home.”
Rob has held on to these interests throughout his life. Working in Blackburn and later in Spain as a church-based community worker, Rob moved to Bolton in 2003 when he was invited to manage a drop-in centre for the homeless and unemployed.
“We were new to Bolton and bought a small house in Breightmet and were delighted to discover the local parks and Seven Acres Country Park right on our doorstep.”