Co-op funeral home pays for new memorial to honour fallen soldier in Peterborough

Central England Co-operative Funeralcare in March has paid for a new memorial to honour the life of a fallen soldier.

Staff at George James Funeral Directors, in City Road, March, secured a grant to pay for the new stone dedicated to war hero Harry Betts after initially receiving a phone call from a relative looking for help in restoring the original.

After a quick assessment found that it was beyond repair, the team were quick to react and secured funds to pay a new memorial from Central England Co-op’s Membership and Community Council community fund.

The new stone is now in place to ensure there is a lasting memorial for Sergeant Major Betts.

Funeral Director Kerry Rolfe said: “As soon as we received the phone call, we all knew that we had to help in some way.

“Then, when it became clear that the current memorial could not be repaired, it was decided to appeal for a grant from our Membership and Community Council community fund and we were thrilled to find out that we had been successful.

“The new memorial stone is now in place and it was an honour for everyone involved with the Funeral Home to be part of helping to ensure the legacy of this was hero remains in place for generations to come.”

The memorial honours the life of Harry Betts who was killed in action in France on August 22, 1918, at the age of just 22 at the Battle of Bapaume, which was part of the Battle of Amiens.

His body is interned at Beacon Way Cemetery, in France, and this memorial can be found at the Chapel of Ease, in Guyhurn.

Relative Brian Betts said: “I am especially grateful to George James Funeral Directors who helped and supported me through a complicated procedure.”

A special ceremony recently took place, conducted by Reverend Matthew Bradbury and assisted by Reverend Ryk Parkinson, to unveil the new memorial.

In attendance were Mr Betts and his daughter Sarah, Colonel Mark Knight, leader of Cambridgeshire Cadet Force, and three colleagues from George James Funeral Directors.

George James Funeral Directors offers a 24-hour service, seven days a week.  In addition to arranging funerals, the team are also able to offer advice on floral tributes, monumental masonry, funeral stationery, pre-paid funeral plans and probate advice.  The team can be contacted on 01354 652208.


Notes to editors


About Central England Co-operative


Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK. 


It is a modern, forward-looking organisation employing over 8,000 staff, with the Society’s principal areas of activity being food, funeral services, and property.


The company’s funeral business consists of over 120 funeral homes across 16 counties, 10 florists, masonry production and administration, Bretby Crematorium and Terry Smiths coffin factory.


Central England Co-operative has more than 430 trading outlets across 16 counties including; West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. 


The Society has an ambitious food store and funeral home development programme for 2018.


Central England Co-operative is proud of its reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.  It is a member of Business in the Community, the membership organisation that stands for responsible business, and has also won many business awards for excellence.  The Society supports a number of charities including Dementia UK and invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities.


Becoming a member of Central England Co-operative offers a whole host of benefits ranging from collecting points every time you spend in store to earn a share of the profits, access to members activities and community initiatives including the Community Dividend Fund, which hands out grants of up to £5,000 to charities and good causes across the Society’s trading estate.

Find out how to become a Central England Co-operative member by calling 0800 0501 601, emailing or visiting


For more information visit, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, @mycooplife and on Facebook:


Rob Smyth at Central England Co-operative on 01543 414140


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