THE life of a Ryedale war hero whose grave was laying overgrown in a churchyard is to be celebrated in a special service for the First World War centenary.

Gunner Edgar Cousins is the only Pickering man who died after active service during the First World War to be buried in the town. He was wounded in France, aged 35, and invalided back to England where he later died and was buried with full military honours.

A memorial service will be held in his memory on Saturday, November 10, at 10.45am, at Gunner Cousins’ graveside at the rear of the church of St Peter and St Paul’s. It will be a mark of respect for Edgar and the 78 other Pickering men who lost their lives serving their country a 100 years ago.

The service has been prompted by historian and author Gordon Clitheroe who felt that Edgar and the 78 other men who died in the war should be remembered.

“I felt there was a real danger that Edgar’s contribution and indeed that of the others would not be properly recognised this centenary year,” he said.

“Now, thanks to the community pulling together, a path to and from it and around the grave itself has been cleared and tidied up and we can have a fitting, short service to remember Edgar and the men who sacrificed so much for us all.”

Father Anthony Pritchett, Ryedale Lions Club, the Pickering branch of the Royal British Legion, Pickering Town Council and Beck Isle Museum have worked together to organise the service for the soldier.

The last post will be played by a relative of Edgar, Sharon Allanson and the Swinton Brass Band.