Express & Star

Tipton man who cleans up war graves gets recognition with Commonwealth award

A man has been handed an award for his outstanding volunteer work recording details and cleaning war hero headstones.

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Spotlight Award winner Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith, from Tipton, was given a Spotlight Award after showing his dedication to keeping graves neat and tidy, while cleaning in an eco-minded way.

The award from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is given to showcase the contributions of volunteers and their work in inspiring others.

Mr Smith said: "Winning the Spotlight Award was very special to me, as in my mind it meant that what I am doing is appreciated and that I am making a difference.

"The best thing about volunteering is when all the jobs are done, you can walk around the site and just look at these stones that look well-kept and clean and think that that's how the parents of these heroes would have wanted them to look."

Mr Smith would sometimes visit around seven graveyards to clean the headstones, all while staying eco-friendly by utilising the bus services for transport.

CWGC’s director general, Claire Horton, said: "I am delighted to share the news of our volunteer special recognition, Spotlight Awards, in Volunteers’ Week."

"This is a time to both celebrate the outstanding contribution of our volunteers and to showcase their work to inspire others who might be thinking of volunteering."