Ahead of Remembrance Sunday, Saints Community Development Foundation's Veterans of the Foundation and their families, took on the huge task of cleaning and tending to the graves of more than 600 brave men and women who have died in all the campaigns since the First World War.
The undertaking is called The Spirit Within Parade and was the idea of veteran Dave Swift, who contacted Marlene Downey from Friends of the Cemetery and made his idea become a reality.
Saints Community Development Foundation’s Veterans of the Foundation, who meet at regularly at our Totally Wicked Stadium, soon got involved as did families of those who have died.
The Veterans of The Foundation spokesman said: “They found some graves that weren’t in the records and one or two in the wrong places, but after a few months of hard work, all 600 graves had been cleaned, flowers planted and as much as was able, restored to their former state.”
On Saturday, October 26, veterans involved also held a parade to honour all those who have died since the First World War in all armed forces.
They were joined by cadets, the Friends of the Cemetery and members of the public came together to place poppies on each grave in their honour. St Helens’ three Victoria Cross veterans had wreaths laid in their honour.
The granddaughter of one, John ‘Jack’ Molyneux laid his, and two veterans from the Saints Veterans of the Foundation, Tom Flynn and Ron Ball, laid the others.
Veterans of The Foundation spokesman added: “It was a massively proud day for all the team here at Vets of the Foundation and all veterans involved.”
Ron Ball, who laid a wreath for a Victoria Cross recipient, said: “I thought it went excellent, the respect was there which was most important, and a lot more people than I thought would be there, were there.
“The bonus for me was when I got the permission to lay the wreath for the V.C, that made my day that did, it was on my list of things to do. I will be there every year if I’m able.”
Tom Flynn, a Royal Marine standard bearer, also laid a wreath for a Victoria Cross recipient, added: “Considering it was our first time, it went very well.
“A few things to iron out for next year but with the weather, I’m surprised the lads kept it together, and it was an honour to lay a wreath on one of the V.C cross graves.
“I think everyone enjoyed themselves, bigger and better next year.”