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Tom, 91, cleans up Shirley War Memorial.

A VETERAN wing walker from Shirley who has raised thousands of pounds for charity has now taken on a challenge closer to his heart.

A VETERAN wing walker from Shirley who has raised thousands of pounds for charity has now taken on a challenge closer to his heart.

Ninety-one-year-old Tom Lackey said he was so disgusted with the state of Shirley’s War Memorial, he has decided to take on the task of restoring the monument back to its former glory.

The memorial, at St James Church, Stratford Road, honours Shirley men and women who lost their lives during World War One and World War Two. One of the ‘wings’ bears the name of Tom’s late brother, Harold Lackey, who died in the Battle of Britain at just 25.

“It was in such a bad way,” Tom, who won a Pride of Britain award last year for his fundraising, told us. “The names were disappearing and I just felt something had to be done.”

“I approached various people but didn’t seem to be getting anywhere so I decided to take it on myself. In my life, I have learned there is no such word as impossible.”

With the help of friends, supplies donated by local firms EH Smith and Treadwells and a ‘bit of muscle’, Tom and his team have managed to repair the plinth holding the World War One structure.

They’ve also restored the monument back to its original colour and are now painting the names back on.

“I am surprised how good it looks. It has been hard work, we have been working on this since November. If it wasn’t for the kindness of the people and businesses in Shirley, this would not have been possible.”

EH Smith and Treadwells said they were ‘happy to help’ Tom and ‘wish him well.’

 

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