War graves photographer gets award from prime minister

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image copyrightMick McCann
image captionBedford House Cemetery enclosure number four, near Ypres, Belgium

A man who has taken hundreds of thousands of images of British military graves has received a national award.

Mick McCann set up the British War Graves project after visiting graves of service personnel near his home in Wigston, Leicestershire.

Having visited cemeteries in France and Belgium about 70 times, he now has more than 750,000 photographs on a website.

Giving the Points of Light award, Prime Minister Theresa May said Mr McCann should be "very proud".

image captionMick McCann said everyone should try to visit one of these cemeteries as they are so moving

The site covers all wars for which Commonwealth gravestones were issued.

It includes contributions from other people and covers sites as far away as Malaysia and Hong Kong.

image copyrightMick McCann
image captionPemba Cemetery, Mozambique

Mr McCann said: "Everyone should try to visit one of these cemeteries, they are so moving.

"Some of the inscriptions - chosen by the family - will bring tears to your eyes and it still gets me now.

"Who can stand at the Menin Gate, or at the Theipval memorial, without feeling that? Seventy thousands names - husbands, sons, fathers."

image copyrightMick McCann
image captionMartinsart British Cemetery, France

His wife, Joanna, said the work was surprisingly physically demanding.

"In one go we may do two, three or four thousands pictures.

"I've learnt to stand back from the stones, instead of bending over, because doing that many is hard work on the back."

image copyrightMick McCann
image captionLijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium
image copyrightMick McCann
image captionCassino Cemetery and Monastery, Italy
image copyrightMr McCann
image captionPrince Maurice of Battenberg's grave at Ypres Town Cemetery
image copyrightMick McCann
image captionVis en Artois memorial to the missing, in France

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