United Utilities veterans help Penketh volunteers ensure cemetery looks its best for Remembrance Day

04 Nov 2022

Each year as Remembrance Day approaches the Friends of St Mary’s Cemetery volunteers ramp up their efforts to ensure the war memorial and wider cemetery are looking their best for the service honouring those who gave their lives in combat.

The group was started more than a decade ago by Trudi Wood, who is also involved in the local branch of the Royal British Legion and Poppy Appeal. They work in the cemetery almost every weekend of the year carrying out all sorts of tasks, and in the lead-up to Remembrance Sunday they place a special focus on ensuring those who have died in war are suitably honoured.

As Trudi works as a customer team leader at United Utilities, she has been able to enlist the help of the water company’s Armed Forces Veterans and Grounds Maintenance Team for the past few years, and this year they have once again gone above and beyond to ensure the area looks spick and span.

Trudi said: “The veterans group have proved to be game changers in our efforts to keep the cemetery looking its best.

“They are literally an army descending on St Mary’s, and do more in one day than we can manage in a month! With the help of the United Utilities grounds maintenance staff, they bring their energy and equipment and make a huge difference.

“Leaves are cleared, lawns are mown, weeds are uprooted, bushes and trees are trimmed, and paths are swept – they do the lot!

“We’re so grateful for their help and we get lots of lovely comments at the Remembrance Day service on how beautiful the cemetery looks, so we really can’t thank them enough.”

Rich Waggitt, Regional Engineering Manager at United Utilities and chair of the company’s Armed Forces Network, is one of the veterans who has been helping out. He said: “It’s our pleasure to lend a hand to ensure the war memorial at St Mary’s Cemetery looks its best for the Remembrance Day service.

“Honouring our fallen comrades is a really special moment, helping to bring people together in memory and solidarity, and giving us all a chance to reflect.” 

The Act of Remembrance at St Mary’s Church cemetery on St Mary’s Road, Penketh, will take place at 11am on Sunday 13th November. The parade will start at 10.15am from Honiton Square, going via the library and on to the cemetery.

United Utilities holds Gold status in the Ministry of Defence’s Employer Recognition Scheme, and has signed the Armed Forces Covenant to demonstrate the company’s commitment to being a forces friendly employer.