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Colleagues clean up Grantham's civilian war memorial at cemetery

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A group of volunteers have spent the day cleaning the town’s memorial to the civilian war dead after it had fallen into disrepair.

Six colleagues from Lincolnshire Co-op Funeral Service spent nearly five hours at Grantham Cemetery on Wednesday cleaning the stone, filling the gravel section, weeding and adding new plants and rose bushes to make the area look presentable again.

The memorial commemorates all the civilian residents in Grantham who lost their lives during the Second World War.

Mgjp War memorial (50808779)
Mgjp War memorial (50808779)

It is especially poignant for funeral operations manager Andy Clark, whose relatives are among those named on the memorial after they were killed when a German bomb fell on Grantham’s Stuart Street on October 24, 1942, killing 10 people when it dropped on an air raid shelter at the bottom of the street.

Andy, who initiated the clean-up project with his colleagues, said: “The memorial was in a bad state of repair but it doesn’t fall under the remit of the Commonwealth War graves commission. There is a remembrance ceremony held every November which includes local dignitaries, schools and ministers and so we wanted to get it looking presentable again.”

The task was part of the the society’s volunteering programme which sees staff donate their time and skills to improving their local community.

MKM Building Supplies, on Trent Road, Grantham, donated the gravel for the project and the staff team purchased the plants from Belton Garden Centre at a discounted rate.A Lincolnshire Co-op spokesperson said: “Our colleagues are always keen to volunteer for good causes and to identify new opportunities to improve the local community. We offer a volunteering programme to all business areas across Lincolnshire Co-op to support these brilliant colleagues in their efforts to look after the local environment, and make life better in communities such as Grantham.”

The staff team will be laying a wreath at the remembrance service in November on behalf of the society and plan to maintain the appearance of the memorial throughout the year.

Andy added: “It’s taken a lot of hard graft but we’re all pleased with the result.”

Grantham Civic Society will be using the memorial as the start and finish of their guided tours through the cemetery later this month.The ‘Voices from Grantham Cemetery’ walk will guide visitors through the graves of those who contributed to the town’s history, including the Hornsby family, military and civilian war dead and those who died tragically or have unusual monuments.

A total of 32 people died in the Stuart Street raid in October 1942, with another bomb hitting Bridge Street, whilst a third landed in Dudley Road but mercifully did not explode. Forty-one people were injured, 20 homes were destroyed and a further 586 suffered damage from the air raid.

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