A MARKET trader took it upon himself to tidy up a sailor's grave which had been overrun by weeds and bushes.

Alan Taylor, who runs the Sarsaparilla stall in Blackburn Market, cleaned up the grave belonging to Able Seaman Fred Eastwood which stands in the grounds of St James’ Church in Church.

The 50-year-old saw a recent story in the Lancashire Telegraph calling for urgent action to improve the neglected state of the grave, and decided to clean it up.

Mr Taylor, who regularly tidies up gravestones in Blackburn Cemetery, said he spent around 30 minutes pulling up weeds, putting down bark, cleaning the gravestone, planting artificial flowers and placing a small wooden cross in front of it.

He said: “A customer showed me the story and I thought I had a bit of time after work one night and went up there.

“I was there for about 30 minutes. Someone had already mowed a path up to the grave which helped me a lot.

“It was covered in weeds and dirt.

“It’s important to show care and respect for what this man and thousands more sacrificed.”

The grave shows Mr Eastwood had sailed on the the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Bacchante and died on Friday, February 14, 1919, aged 26.

The ship was the flagship of the 9th Cruiser Squadron on convoy escort duties off the African coast in mid-1917.

Graham Jones, Hyndburn’s MP, said he was extremely pleased with Mr Taylor’s work.

He said: “I would like to say a massive thank-you to Mr Taylor who came and cleaned up the grave, as well as everyone else who offered.

“It shows that the men who died 100 years ago are still respected and remembered for that they did.

“It’s important they are not forgotten.”

Mr Taylor, who has had his market stall for five years, said he would continue to keep the grave tidy for a few weeks but hopes someone is able to adopt it in the long term.