A Thirsk man who has been sharing his passion for world war history and inspiring people with talks and tours at Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery has received an award from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC).
Andrew Thornton has been recognised for his work at the North Yorkshire cemetery and has been given the prestigious Spotlight award, along with a letter from the CWGC’s Director General, Claire Horton, congratulating him and thanking him for his work for going above and beyond as a volunteer for the CWGC.
I was absolutely thrilled to receive the recognition because it’s an honour and privilege to volunteer for the Commission.
I’ve been visiting war grave sites in Europe since the late 80s and have always admired the Commission’s work, so to be involved in three different volunteer roles is the icing on the cake for me.
It’s great to be able to hook people into the history of it all, sharing that passion, the honour and remembrance of commemorating the fallen. It’s an uplifting experience when you get people responding to all of that.
The CWGC’s Spotlight Awards are designed to shine a light on and celebrate the exceptional work of volunteers who have gone over and beyond what is expected from them.
Andrew is one of four guides at the cemetery, working alongside CWGC Public Engagement Coordinator, Elizabeth Smith. Andrew started to volunteer with the Commission in 2020 and has delivered many talks to groups, from Rotary Clubs to Women’s Institutes. He recently helped to run tours at Stonefall Cemetery to mark International Women’s Day and Commonwealth Day.
He recently completed a master’s degree in First World War history and one of the next key tours is CWGC’s War Graves Week in May – Ordinary People, Extraordinary Times Around the World.
To find out more about the Commission’s work and the upcoming War Graves Week, please keep checking back on its website: www.cwgc.org