A VETERAN’S group which holds repatriation ceremonies for British troops killed in Afghanistan has received a special award from the Chairman of Durham County Council.

Councillor Linda Marshall awarded a Chairman’s Medal to Sedgefield Village Veterans at a special ceremony this week in recognition of their commitment to honouring fallen servicemen and women.

The medal is the highest award present by the authority and is bestowed on those who carryout outstanding charity and community work.

Coun Marshall, who represents Chester-le-Street, described the veterans as a “wonderful bunch of people” whose only motivation is to pay respect to Britain’s war dead.

“I heard they held repatriation services and was invited to attend,” she said. “It was just a simple 10 minute service but it was so moving and Sedgefield is the only place in the North of England to do this.

“They don’t do it for recognition but I strongly believe they deserve recognition. “The Royal British Legion is one of my chosen charities for my year as chair, which is another reason I wanted to award the veterans.”

Sedgefield Village Veterans has conducted repatriations since 2009. To date, more than 250 have taken place.

The veterans also carryout fundraising activities and recently created a garden of remembrance, containing hundreds of crosses for men and women who lost their lives in Afghanistan, Korea and the Falklands.

Tim Spearey, chairman of Sedgefield Village Veterans, said it was great privilege to receive the award.

“We were knocked sideways when we found out,” said Mr Spearey. “It is nice to be recognised, especially with something as special as a Chairman’s Medal.

“I lost my wife to cancer six years ago and myself and our secretary, David Hillerby, wanted to do something positive.

“We knew we couldn’t match what they did at Royal Wootton Bassett but we still wanted to do our bit. We would like to thank everyone who has supported us.”

Members of the public can also nominate individuals they believe deserve a Chairman’s Medal.

Nominations can be submitted through each of the county’s 14 area action partnerships until Friday, January 4, with an awards ceremony taking place on Friday, February 22.

For more information contact 0191- 3725298 or email chairmansoffice@durham.gov.uk