Grave is refurbished after Shropshire soldier’s appeal - with video
The weathered grave of a solider who died in Shrewsbury nearly three decades ago has been refurbished in time for Remembrance week.
Last November, retired Colonel Tony Jones, retired, set out on a mission to either replace or renovate the headstone of Sergeant William (Bill) Atkinson, who died in 1991 at the age of 31 after falling into the River Severn.
The pair met while serving in Germany as members of the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) in the late 80s and became good comrades.
After several months trying to trace his family, who had moved away from the area following his death, Colonel Jones put an appeal in the Shropshire Star in the hope of finding his wife or children.
"Six weeks after a piece went into the Shropshire Star and on the website, I received a call out of the blue from a family member living in Newcastle," Colonel Jones said.
"He put me in touch with Bill's youngest son who he sadly never met as he died before he was born. I wrote him a letter which he passed on to his mother.
'It looks brand new'
"About a fortnight later she rang me and I explained that I was trying to do. She was so humbled and extremely grateful and gave me consent to proceed with the plans."
Colonel Jones asked R Burrows Memorials in Shrewsbury to carry out the work and within six weeks the job was complete.
"They were absolutely brilliant throughout and I was delighted to see the finished product. It looks brand new," he added.
"A year ago I was stood at the grave thinking how tired and untidy it looked so to now see it looking brand new in the autumn sunshine is wonderful."
The work was funded by the RAMC regimental headquarters.