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Burnley memorial to be rededicated by new Bishop of Blackburn
A MEMORIAL to a Victoria Cross winner, which was damaged by trespassers, has been restored just weeks before the centenary of the start of the First World War.
Churchgoers at St Matthew’s in Burnley are preparing to re-dedicate its cenotaph bearing the names of Second Lieutenant Alfred Victor Smith and around a dozen of his comrades.
The stone monument was cracked around a decade ago when youths, who were climbing on the church roof, fell off and collided with part of the edifice.
Now, following a fundraising campaign by the congregation, the newly-installed Bishop of Blackburn will honour the fallen from the Great War at a ceremony on November 9 which will also be attended by Lord Shuttleworth, Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire.
And youngsters from nearby Holy Trinity will honour two Burnley VC winners as part of the Remembrance commemorations.
Headteacher Mark Williams and his staff have worked with church leaders to rehearse a play based around Smith and Private Thomas Whitham, a soldier in the Coldstream Guards, who was presented with the VC for gallantry after disabling a German machine gun on the first day of the third Battle of Ypres in 1917.
Stephen Martin, who attends St Matthew’s took on the project following the death of his father, Eric, 94, last year.
He said: “He served in the Second World War and he was really concerned that the memorial had deteriorated so much down the years.
“And after he died I took a look at the memorial and thought it was awful, so we decided to do something about it.”
More than £3,000 has been spent commissioning specialist Nelson-based stonemasons Stone Edge to work on the overhaul.
Around a third of the cost was met by the War Memorials Trust, the rest by the congregation, and a plaque was donated by Brent Stevenson Memorials.
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