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from the Telegraph 11 November 2001

Volunteers are sought to adopt a grave

by Macer Hall

VOLUNTEERS prepared to "adopt a grave" are being sought in a campaign to improve the burial plots of fallen war heroes.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which maintains memorials to the dead from the two world wars, wants help to tend some of the 170,000 graves in churchyards and cemeteries across Britain.

Peter Francis, a commission spokesman, said: "We are looking for a network of volunteers throughout the UK - and eventually throughout the Commonwealth - who would be interested in helping our work.

"We can then use our records to supply them with a list of war graves in their region and we may be able to point out sites that we are concerned about.

"Their help can take many different forms. It could be a matter of just visiting the grave once a year and putting a poppy or a wreath on the grave if there is a well-maintained plot. Or it could involve considerable work to refurbish the grave."

Mr Francis said the campaign was focusing on schools. "It is aimed at young people because they are our future. Children can build up a picture of the person and learn about how they died to make the act of remembrance more relevant," he said.

The campaign had grown out of a number of local projects, Mr Francis said. At Sutton Veny Primary School near Warminster, Wiltshire, pupils have been tending the graves of New Zealand and Australian soldiers in the local churchyard.

  • Adopt A Grave, The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, 2 Marlow Road, Maidenhead, Berks SL6 7DX.

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