Students have been taking time off from their college studies to tidy up gravestones at the St Peter and St Paul parish church grounds in Dagenham.  

They volunteered to help the church with its conservation project to clear away the overgrowth to make sure families can continue to pay their respects.   

“It is satisfying when people come up to you and thank you,” student Artion Josan, from Rainham, said. “They thank us for allowing them to see the graves safely where their loved ones can be remembered.”

The 36 students on public and protective services courses at the college spent two weeks clearing and preparing the churchyard, including cleaning 24 Commonwealth memorial war graves from the two world wars.

It was the seventh year students from Barking and Dagenham College had joined the annual project that was originally set up in 2016 to create safe access to the grounds in Church Lane and its wildlife areas.