A recent campaign run by The Sun newspaper, highlighting the plight of the dilapidated graves of Britain’s Victoria Cross winning servicemen, has generated a huge level of public interest and has spurred the government to take action and provide much needed funds for repair.
Residents in the immediate local area may be aware of the “Adopt a Grave” scheme, which was the brainchild of local lady June-Ann Worby and Richmond Borough Council’s Cemeteries Manager Natasha Bradshaw in 2007 – a scheme created to encourage volunteers to care for graves that are no longer maintained by living family of the deceased.
In 2008, under this scheme, Lodge Brothers were commissioned by Richmond Council to carry out a complete restoration of the memorials to Victoria Cross winners, General Sir Harry North Dalrymple Prendergast R.E. C.C.B. V.C. and General Sir William Olpherts V.C. C.C.B. in Richmond Cemetery, together with the renovation of the memorials to Sir O’Moore Creagh V.C. C.C.B. C.C.S.I., and Major General Hamilton Lyster Reed V.C. C.B. C.M.G. in East Sheen Cemetery.
Following the renovation of the memorials, as a gesture of respect, Lodge Brothers included them in their twice-yearly maintenance programme. The memorials are inspected, cleaned and tidied as per our annual “memorial maintenance contracts” with private clients, and this continuing care is provided free of charge by Lodge Brothers.
Christopher Lodge, Memorials Director, explained, “After we had restored the memorials in 2008, I felt it important to prevent them from reverting back to their previous state. They are of historic importance and, as we carry out regular memorial maintenance in both cemeteries, I thought it would be a mark of respect to add them to our schedule of maintenance. I am thrilled to see that The Sun’s newspaper campaign has led to the government taking some action, however, we will continue to maintain these particular memorials completely free of charge.”