A long campaign led by one man to see a Denby World War One Victoria Cross war hero’s grave restored has finally paid off.
The grave of Bombardier Charles Stone has become the first of many such run down ones in the country to be restored after a campaign led by Chris Froggatt.
Bombardier Stone was awarded the Victoria Cross, ‘the highest military decoration awarded for valour “in the face of the enemy’ after he single-handedly repelled a German attack in France in 1918 before capturing a machine gun and four prisoners, all while under heavy fire.
He was later decorated for his bravery at Buckingham Palace by King George V.
Chris, 42, an architect from New Road in Heage, worked alongside the Victoria Trust and a national daily newspaper to help raise funds for all of the Victoria Trust Graves. His campaign also featured in the Ripley & Heanor News.
The news comes aswe continue with our Pennies for Our Heroes appeal, where we are asking readers to donate their lose change – or more if you spare it – so we can plant a ‘living memorial’ to heores like Chalres who served their country.
Chris was particularly keen to ensure the graves of those who won the Victoria Cross but died after the war like Charles were restored, as their graves were not maintained by the War Graves Commission.
He wanted to restore the grave after seeing it weather beaten and neglected in the corner of Belper Cemetery.
Heanor marked its most honoured war hero William Gregg by naming the William Gregg VC Leisure Centre in the town after him.
Despite Charles’ grave having now been restored, Chris says there’s still a lot more work to be done to honour the hero.
Chris said: “If you were a solider putting your life on the line it wouldn’t be very motivating at all to know nobody would care about your grave in the future.
“ The first part of the mission is now done but there’s still plenty more to be done.
“What I would like is for people in Amber Valley to get involved such as councillors for Ripley and Belper.
“There are plenty of new housing projects being built across the Amber Valley area, it’d be a fitting tribute if we could get a street named after Charles.
“I’d also like to get a cast iron plaque next to his grave and a framed picture of him hung in the reception lobby at Amber Valley Borough Council.”
Chris is currently organising a rededication service which will be held on August 2 in Belper Cemetery.
Serving military personnel, the Royal British Legion will among those attending.