A FLOOKBURGH man has spoken about how delighted he is that so many people rallied behind his plan to restore the damaged gravestone of a New Zealand World War Two pilot.

Frank Lomas, 82, saw that the Flookburgh Cemetery gravestone of Noel Leonard Pittendrigh, who died aged 21 when he crashed over south Cumbria in 1943, was in need of repair.

However, he was disappointed to find that the Royal British Legion would not pay the £84 repair costs.

Mr Lomas spoke to The Westmorland Gazette about his hopes to fund the repairs himself, and was soon overwhelmed with offers from people wishing to donate to the cause.

In the end, Mr Lomas raised enough money to repair the headstone, and to help fund the maintenance of Flookburgh’s church clock - the town’s war memorial.

“I just wast to thank everybody who helped me out,” said Mr Lomas. “I want people to know that the headstone is repaired and looks great.

“Everybody involved has been wonderful. Mossops, of Dalton, even upgraded the headstone at no extra cost. They have been wonderful.

“I am so pleased. It is important that we look after these gravestones of soldiers who fought for what we have now.

“If you can’t respect those who fought for our freedom then you can’t respect anybody. That is why it is important to look after things like this.

“I think that because this New Zealand airman had no family over here people were keen to take care of his gravestone themselves.

“I am also pleased that we raised money for the clock.”