What we do 

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In memory of Sandy

small sandyThis is the memorial stone which has been put up in the churchyard of St James' Church, Burton Lazars, in memory of Sandy Saunders.
The headstone is made from the same Cumbrian stone that was used to make the memorial to members of the famous Guinea Pig Club which Sandy fought so hard to have built at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire. It also bears the Guinea Pig Club logo and the phrase, which Sandy, who is pictured left, thought of and which also appears on the Alrewas memorial: "Out of the flames came inspiration."
The headstone, in the shape of a plane wing, is a fitting tribute to a very brave and determined man and was made by stonemason Graeme Micheson, who also made the Guinea Pig Club memorial.
Sandy was a member of the Guinea Pig Club, which was founded on 20 July, 1941, by a group of badly injured and burned airmen. They were undergoing reconstructive surgery at the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, where the plastic surgeon to the RAF, Archibald McIndoe, devised new innovative treatment for burn injuries. His aim was to restore seriously disfigured men to the best possible physical state, together with restoration of their confidence and self-esteem.

Sandy, helped by his wife Maggie, set himself the task of raising the money to fund the memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum and on November 2nd, 2016, it was unveiled by the president of the Guinea Pig Club, Prince Philip.
At the end of the Second World War there were 649 members of the Guinea Pig Club. At present in the UK only a handful remain.

*Sandy Saunders suffered severe burns to his face when his glider crashed at 90mph in a training accident in 1945. He was 22 at the time of the crash shortly after the war ended. The young airman was inspired by plastic surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe and eventually trained to be a doctor, spending 49 years as a GP in Sneinton, Nottingham.
"The human instinct is that good comes from something bad. That is what happened to me," Sandy once told me. 
*For more details on the Guinea Pig Club and the work of Sir Archibald McIndoe click here.

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Above: Prince Philip is pictured at the unveiling of the Guinea Pig Club memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum while below is a picture of the memorial.

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Phil Balding, 25/10/2018

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