Chatteris youngsters salute First World War fallen

Chatteris Youth Work On War Graves. Youth volunteers work on memorials to Chatteris' WW1 serviceman. Left to Right: Sam Stockman, Brandon Sharp, Joseph Templeman, Zak Stephens. ANL-140810-144537001
Chatteris Youth Work On War Graves. Youth volunteers work on memorials to Chatteris' WW1 serviceman. Left to Right: Sam Stockman, Brandon Sharp, Joseph Templeman, Zak Stephens. ANL-140810-144537001

Youth members of the Chatteris branch of the Royal British Legion and other young supporters have begun tidying up the graves and memorials of personnel from the First World War in the town’s two cemeteries along New Road.

With the help of Nicky Stockman of Chatteris Remembers, who has researched and located the headstones and memorials, the teenagers are working their way around the cemeteries to provide some long overdue care and attention to the war fallen.

And the project has received the good news that the town council will be awarding a grant of £235.

So far Kane Seal, Brandon Sharp, Chelsea Bellfield Pearson, Zak Stephens, Sam Stockman and Joseph Templeman, supported by RBL adult members and helpers Leah Templeman, David Seal, Danielle Grange, and Jordan Bullman, have worked on seven memorials, including that of Pte Edmund Cooper (2ndLincolnshire Regiment).

Edmund was featured as the central character in a play performed by Kingsfield Year 6 students in July, focusing on the lives of Chatteris’s soldiers during the war.

The group has been overwhelmed by the local business support, highlighting the respect that still exists for our war dead.

Organiser, Leah Templeman, has had donations of equipment and materials from Chatteris and March stores, including in Chatteris: The Cheap Shop, Travis Perkins, The Co-op, Budgens, Pete’s Second Hand Shop and Chatteris Garage.

Donations of items and vouchers in March came from West End DIY, Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s. The biggest donation came from the March branch of Ridgeons, who have provided over 20 bags of gravel, weed suppressant liners and equipment to enhance and protect the memorials once the clearing work is completed.

This is likely to be ongoing over the next couple of years due to the number of memorials and graves to be tended.

The voluntary work runs alongside short services the youth members are organising to commemorate the deaths of Chatteris’s First World War servicemen.

The first service was held to remember Pte Tom Seekings (2nd Suffolk Battalion) and the next will be for Pte George Palmer of the 1st Grenadier Guards. This will take place at Chatteris War Memorial at 11am on Sunday, October 26.

For more details, or to get involved, search Facebook for Chatteris Royal British Legion or the Chatteris Remembers Group.

Alternatively contact Major Norman Larke (Rtd) on nglarke@gmail.com or telephone him on 01354 694375.