Thomas John Cook, from England, his wife Sarah and infant daughter Ada were the first Europeans to settle permanently in Sechelt in 1894. He was the first Justice of the peace, helped open the first school, donated part of his land for the building of St. Hilda's Anglican Church and cemetery and generally helped his pioneer neighbours and the Sechelt First Nation people. Descendants of the Cook family still live on the Sunshine Coast.
The famous cemetery beside the church was created in 1923 when the owner of the property, Thomas J. Cook, gave permission for two young children who were not Roman Catholic to be buried there. At the time, there was no cemetery for non-Roman Catholics in Sechelt. Cook then donated the land to the Anglican Church and tasked them with taking care of the cemetery.
A record of those interred in the Pioneer Cemetery can be viewed online HERE
The St Hilda’s Cemetery Board oversees the Cemetery which includes: upholding the provincial bylaws; maintenance of interment contracts, cemetery and memorial garden records, and the cemetery grounds. Full burials are no longer allowed in the cemetery.
A Cemetery Upkeep Fund has been created with donations from family members of those interred as well as parishioners who choose to sign an Interment Contract. Protocols have been established to assist parishioners and family members of deceased parishioners who wish to discuss interment of ashes in our cemetery and memorial garden. Contact with families whose family members are interred in the cemetery and memorial gardens is ongoing. Records have been collated and are kept on file in the office.
A Buddhist grave site lies at the heart of St. Hilda’s graveyard. Parishioner, Nancy Moote explains why in her article the Story of the Konishis. See attachment.