Trust team helps Bacup memorial effort

Accross students get stuck in, with tean leader John Haselden

Accross students get stuck in, with tean leader John Haselden

First published in Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , .

A PROJECT to ensure First World War veterans’ graves are properly marked has been given a boost by young volunteers.

Twelve young people from the Bacup campus of Accrington and Rossendale College have stepped in to assist the scheme at Bacup Cemetery.

The students will help Haslingden charity Veterans In Communities (VIC) as part of a volunteering course with the Prince’s Trust.

VIC launched Operation War Grave 100 earlier this year, with the aim of marking 120 military headstones in Bacup with details of the deceased.

John Haselden, a team leader at the Prince’s Trust, served for 10 years with the Royal Artillery in Afghanistan and Iraq before being medically discharged nine months ago.

He said: “They had three possible tasks for their community project and they all selected the charity Veterans In Communities and their project Operation War Graves 100.

“As a veteran myself, I am very proud that this is the project my team selected although I did not influence their decision.

“They have all worked hard and kept focused. It is a travesty that this has not been done any sooner, but good that it is being done now.”

Originally, it was hoped the team could locate and properly mark 10 graves, but now that number is likely to be nearer 50.

Many of the young people involved are classed as NEETs – Not in Education Employment or Training - while some have learning difficulties.

Travas Walders, 18, from Bacup, said he voluteered after struggling to find a job.

He said: “We are doing something positive and we can see the final result.

“It is hard when you send 30 letters a day applying for jobs and only get one reply, and that is a no.”

The three-week community project will see the team use maps to locate the hidden graves, dig out the marker stones and prepare the ground for a new memorial stone to be laid.

In November, a special Remembrance service will be held at the cemetery, with the team of students expected to be in attendance.

The new stones have all been specially crafted by Bacup firm Chislestone Memorials, in Burnley Road.

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