Government backs plan to restore graves of Victoria Cross heroes

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NEGLECTED and crumbling graves of Victoria Cross recipients from the Great War are to be restored to mark the centenary of the war’s outbreak.

Doncaster-based charity the Victoria Cross Trust has received £100,000 of Government money to restore graves across the UK, including 16 across the Yorkshire region and a further 10 local soldiers who are buried outside the county.

While some graves only require minor work, others have fallen into disrepair - headstones have become illegible; stones have crumbled away leaving them unstable; and some are in danger of collapse.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “An entire generation of men fought for Britain’s freedom in the First World War and all fought valiantly.

“But for hundreds of those men their bravery was of such an exceptional nature they were bestowed with the highest military award, the Victoria Cross.

“As these men were honoured then for their extreme bravery on the battlefields, they should be honoured still.

“That is why I am privileged to offer more than £100,000 towards this project to ensure that their final resting places are venerated memorials where communities can pay their respects and learn about their local heroes.

“This will make sure the graves of our Victoria Cross heroes become places to reflect on their selfless service to the nation.

“Alongside the creation of commemorative paving stones we will create a fitting tribute to honour these heroes.”

The Government is leading on commemorations to mark the centenary of the First World War.

Last year the Communities Secretary announced a national campaign of commemorative paving stones to be laid in the place of birth of First World War Victoria Cross winners across the country.