Gainsborough: Lottery funding awarded to First World War headstone project

Members of the Friends of Gainsborough Cemeteries in front of the headstone which remembers Private Frank Richards
Members of the Friends of Gainsborough Cemeteries in front of the headstone which remembers Private Frank Richards

The Heritage Lottery Fund’s ‘First World War: Then and Now’ programme has awarded £10,000 to the Friends of Gainsborough Cemeteries and Chapel’s Fallen Sons of Gainsborough project.

The project, to mark the First World War Centenary, aims to restore approximately 20 of the headstones which are most in danger of being lost forever.

More than 60 headstones in the two cemeteries have inscriptions that remember servicemen who never returned home meaning they were buried abroad or have no known grave.

The Friends believe this will be a valuable local project to mark the Centenary of the First World War.

Peter Bradshaw of the Friends group said: “The Fallen Sons of Gainsborough project will focus on restoring a number of family headstones in the General Cemetery and North Warren Cemetery.”

“These headstones remember World War One servicemen who are buried or commemorated abroad.”

During the West Lindsey Churches Festival on 17th and 18th May in the Cemetery Chapel there will be a display of information about the soldiers buried in the cemetery and the headstones which remember them.

There will also be guided walks of the cemetery.

Susan Edlington, chairman of the Friends, said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, it will mean that the family memorials remembering these Fallen Sons of Gainsborough can be saved.”

Vanessa Harbar, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, said: “The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching every corner of the UK.”

“The Heritage Lottery Fund has already invested more than £47m in projects, large and small, that are marking this global Centenary.”

“With our small grants programme we are enabling even more communities like those involved in the Fallen Sons of Gainsborough project, to explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help local young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.”

During early 2015 a ceremony will be held to rededicate the headstones involving relations of soldiers remembered in the cemetery and pupils from local schools.

Then in May 2015 there will be an exhibition about the restoration project and the launch of a booklet about the project.

The Friends of Gainsborough Cemeteries and Chapel is a group of local volunteers whose aims are to promote local knowledge about the stories behind the people buried in the two cemeteries.

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