George Greenacre – Grave Dedication

In September 2007 whilst researching the Group history, Michael decided it would be a nice idea to find out where George Greenacre was buried so the Scouts could visit his grave before taking part in the annual remembrance parade.

A search of the records at North Shields library found an announcement in the Shields Daily News from October 1941 for a service at Christ Church and burial at Preston cemetery. Further searches located a grave reference number for the plot he was buried in.

When Michael went to the cemetery to visit the grave before taking the Scouts things became a little more difficult though as it couldn’t be found.

A number of searches were made by Michael and Nicola, one of which at the Tyne and Wear archives, even turned up a war time form for George titled “Death due to war operations”, but it didn’t help with the actual grave location.

Numerous emails were exchanged with the staff at Preston cemetery which eventually led to a full reference number along with directions of how to find it but even with this information, a grave just couldn’t be found.

Eventually during a visit to the cemetary office the reason George’s grave was so hard to find became clear. The man who had done so much for Scouting in North Tyneside was buried in an unmarked grave.

At the next Group executive committee meeting it was decided that this was something we would like to do something about so the decision was made to get a marker placed on his grave.

Michael had been in contact by letter with Les Greenacre, George’s son, who lived in Surrey for a number of years. A letter was written explaining what we wanted to do and asking for his permission to do it. This was given on the 20th of October 2008.

Over the course of the next few months discussions took place about what to put on the marker and about how the marker should be placed during the Group executive committee meetings. It was decided to hold a short service on the Group’s anniversary weekend to bless the marker stone at the graveside and former Group member, the Reverend Canon Jim Robertson would be asked to preside over it.

The story was put into the local newspapers inviting any family members or people who knew George to join the Group for the service.

A design for the marker was drawn up by former Cub Leader and Group Executive Committee member Michael Pearson who went to a local stone mason and at his own expense, had it carved in white marble with black text.

Eventually the Group’s anniversay weekend arrived and on Saturday 16th May 2009 the marker stone was placed on George’s grave and dedicated by the Reverend Canon Jim Robertson.

Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and their parents together with Leaders and Guild members and some of George’s family members who still lived in the area all took part in the short service.

The local press sent a photographer to cover it and the story appeared the next day in the Chronicle.

Les Greenacre couldn’t join us for the day but was sent photos and cuttings from it, while Les’s own son Richard sent an email on behalf of the family on the morning of the service expressing their disappointment at being unable to attend and best wishes for the day.