Business chief steps in to save war memorial

Fallen soldier statue in Burnley Cemetery. Photo Ben Parsons
Fallen soldier statue in Burnley Cemetery. Photo Ben Parsons
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A memorial to a fallen Burnley soldier is to be restored to its former glory.

The impressive stone statue of a soldier on top of a family grave in Burnley Cemetery was erected in memory of Pte James Booth who was killed in action during the First World War on September 26th, 1917.

The Burnley Express reported recently how masonry had fallen from the figure, which prompted businessman Andrew Brown to meet the costs.

The owner of Crow Wood Leisure has stepped forward to ensure that the work is carried out ahead of this year’s commemorations for the 100th anniversary of the First World War.

Mr Brown said: “I read about the grave falling into disrepair and thought that it was a great shame. In Burnley we’re very proud of our own and Pte Booth had made the ultimate sacrifice, so I felt compelled to help.”

Pte Booth, of the 8th Battalion King’s Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment, was killed during an attack on Polygon Wood which claimed the lives of more than 1,500 British soldiers.

He is buried in Perth Cemetery (China Wall), Belgium, but the memorial in Burnley stands atop the grave of his parents Joshua and Annie Booth.

Andrew Gill, chairman of the East Lancashire branch of the Western Front Association, said: “We campaign to raise awareness of the contribution made by all those who served in the First World War and it’s very fitting that this grave will be renovated in the 100th anniversary year. Towns like Burnley suffered appalling loses, so it’s vitally important that the sacrifices of soldiers from the town are remembered.”

Mike Waite, from Burnley Council’s community engagement office, said: “This is a really positive step. The call to restore this private grave was first made by a resident, Mr Craig Simpson.

“This initiative means that the restoration will take place alongside the wider work to clean and re-letter all the public war memorials in the borough which the council is carrying out.”