Veterans’ charity helps restore fallen gravestones

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Veterans have volunteered to help restore hundreds of gravestones in a Penwortham churchyard.

Headstones at St Mary’s CE Church were laid down for health and safety reasons, after a visitor was injured by a toppling stone.

Volunteers: Euan Stewart, Rob Fisher and Ciaran of Our Local Heroes Foundation

Volunteers: Euan Stewart, Rob Fisher and Ciaran of Our Local Heroes Foundation

But volunteers from the community, as well as members of Our Local Heroes Foundation, heard about the issue in the Lancashire Evening Post and stepped in to help re-secure as many stones as possible.

“Different groups have come together to offer their expertise and brawn to re-erect some of the headstones”, said vicar Chris Nelson.

“They are digging out holes, and we have got more than 30 people. It’s awesome because it means that a lot of those headstones will go back up much quicker than they would have done, because a lot of people whose headstones were down, their next of kin are long gone themselves.”

He said volunteers, including those from company Amey, had travelled from across the country to offer their help to restore the stones.

Rev Nelson said: “There’s a number of people who have not been happy so hopefully they will be happier that the stones have been reset.”

Euan Stewart, Our Local Heroes Foundation operations manager, said the project was designed to bring veterans and the community together to “put something back”.

He said: “I think it gives veterans the opportunity to show the community how much they appreciate what they are doing with the donations they provide so we can do the job we do. For better relationships for veterans going forward, we have to integrate ourselves within the community and projects like this are only going to highlight that.”