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Issue:- 1 May 2014

The Prince of Wales's Volunteers (S Lancashire Regt)
St Helens Borough Cemetery

Army Service Corps

St Cuthbert's Churchyard, Southport

The new funding will give a significant boost to funds already being raised by the Victoria Cross Trust; a charitable organisation that works to ensure the graves of every Victoria Cross recipient are maintained.  While some graves only require minor work, others have fallen into disrepair; headstones have become illegible; stones have crumbled away leaving them unstable; and some are in danger of collapse. As a result many people are unaware that a Victoria Cross recipient is buried in their community.  Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:- "An entire generation of men fought for Britain's freedom in the First World War and all fought valiantly. But for hundreds of those men their bravery was of such an exceptional nature they were bestowed with the highest military award, the Victoria Cross. As these men were honoured then for their extreme bravery on the battlefields, they should be honoured still. That is why I am privileged to offer more than £100,000 towards this project to ensure that their final resting places are venerated memorials where communities can pay their respects and learn about their local heroes. This will make sure the graves of our Victoria Cross heroes become places to reflect on their selfless service to the nation. Alongside the creation of commemorative paving stones we will create a fitting tribute to honour these heroes."

The government is leading on commemorations to mark the centenary of the First World War. Last year the Communities Secretary announced a national campaign of commemorative paving stones to be laid in the place of birth of First World War Victoria Cross winners across the country so that communities will have a permanent memorial of their local heroes.  The design of the stone was decided by a national competition and the winning entry was unveiled by the Secretary of State and the first living recipient of the Victoria Cross, Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry, in November 2013.

Further information:-

The Victoria Cross Trust is a charitable organisation that works to ensure the graves of every Victoria Cross recipient are maintained. They fundraise to generate income to subsidise the grave upkeep and preservation.

The commemorative paving stones will be laid in over 400 communities across the UK, the first of which will be laid in August 2014.

7 judges were on the panel who decided on the winning paving stone design, these were:- Lord Ashcroft, Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry, Michael Burleigh, Major General Patrick Cordingley, Sebastian Faulks, Dame Helen Ghosh and Diane Lees.

All Victoria Cross heroes of the First World War will be commemorated; for those born overseas but who have a local connection in the UK, the relevant local Council will be offered a paving stone; we are also working on plans to ensure that all heroes who were awarded the Victoria Cross, but who were born overseas, are commemorated.

For more information about this project and how it will run please contact the Victoria Cross Trust by clicking on here.

More information on government's plans for the First World War centenary can be found by clicking on here.

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