Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
2:46 PM 15th May 2024

Flowers For The Fallen: Paul’s Tribute To Those WHO Served

LNER's PAul SImpson
LNER's PAul SImpson
LNER’s Paul Simpson has played a key part in many thousands of journeys, helping customers for almost a quarter of a century through his work at the LNER Travel Centre at York railway station.

Outside work, Paul plays an important role remembering fallen service personnel who have made their final journey, spending much of his spare time taking care of their resting place.

Stories of Paul's' own Grandfathers’ time in the armed services and visits to war graves in France inspired the travel consultant to set up a group called ‘Flowers for the Fallen.’

As Paul explains:
“The idea came when I was visiting my Mum’s grave. She is buried alongside two soldiers, and I noticed that each time I visited, they didn’t have flowers on their graves. I thought
this may have been due to the length of time which has passed, and that they may have no surviving family to visit, but I felt it was important to remember them and pay my respects. So, I started laying flowers on their graves and thought how lovely it would
be if I could extend this to all the service personnel graves which may no longer have someone around to take care of or tend them. That’s when ‘Flowers for the Fallen’ was formed.”

Paul started the group on social media. Now, two years on, there are almost two hundred members, some of whom give their time to visit war graves around York which may have been forgotten, and lay flowers
to pay their respects. Thanks to the support of local supermarkets who donate their unsold flowers at the end of the day, the group now visits 25 graves each month.

Paul said:
“We’re incredibly grateful to those who support us. What started as one or two bunches of flowers being donated has increased to boxes, which has
enabled the group to expand, meaning we can remember even more veterans and the sacrifice they made. It’s about honouring the fallen and bringing together people from the community to do something important in memory of those who gave their today for our tomorrow.”

Through his visits to York Cemetery, Paul located LNER police officer Robert Smith’s grave and learned about how Robert had died in the Baedeker raids on York station in 1942. LNER brought together the railway family in tribute to Robert Smith, unveiling a headstone eighty-two years after his death.

A Fitting Tribute And Lasting Memorial To A WW2 Railway Hero