Three new reports on partnership working between faith and local government.

Remembering the Heroes of the Victoria Cross

vc_event_01Yesterday, I represented FaithAction at one of the most moving events I have been to – the Commemoration of overseas-born Victoria Cross heroes at the National Memorial Arboretum.

The event, organised by Department of Communities and Local Government, remembered those who had served alongside British forces in WW1 from overseas and the heroes who earned Victoria Cross medals.  Representatives from Australia, Belgium, Canada and India were present, and it was amazing to see a list of the 145 soldiers who were getting a commemorative paving stone with their name on it laid at the National Memorial Arboretum.

The paving stones that were laid yesterday are part of a wider campaign taking place across the country to remember those that received the Victoria Cross in WW1.  For those who are British-born, a paving stone is being laid at their place of birth to honour their bravery, to provide a lasting legacy of local heroes within communities, and to enable residents to gain a greater understanding of how their area and people from across the world contributed to the war.  A total of 628 Victoria Crosses were awarded during the First World War; 482 to UK- and Ireland-born recipients and 145 to those from overseas, plus one person was awarded the Victoria Cross twice during the War.

When I looked around the ceremony yesterday, it hit me that this was a fine example of where people became united to fight a World War – those laying down their lives for others and undertaking courageous acts to keep others safe.  In my work at FaithAction, I see people coming together to help those in their local area have better lives.  Whether it’s people working together in kids clubs and food banks or to reach those who are hardest to engage, we see the type of dedication to the cause and how individuals of faith go above and beyond the job description to serve those most in need.

At FaithAction, we want to hear the stories of the remarkable work of faith-based and community organisations across England and celebrate with communities that have seen change.  Get in touch and let us know what you are doing and how FaithAction can help.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said yesterday that the paving stones are a reminder that ordinary heroes have come from ordinary streets. Help FaithAction highlight that there are still heroes transforming communities all across the country.


David Cameron and Eric Pickles at the National Memorial Aboretum