THE Malvern grave of one of the earliest recipients of the Victoria Cross is set to be restored.

Henry Ward won the VC, the UK's highest award for bravery, in 1857 during the Indian Mutiny.

He died ten years later and is buried in a pauper's grave in Great Malvern Cemetery.

On Tuesday, Malvern Town Council's operations committee heard that his gravestone is in a poor state of repair and that council officers have contacted the Victoria Cross Trust to ask if money is available to get it fixed.

The trust has just been provided with £100,000 from the government to restore the graves of Victoria Cross winner in the First World War.

And Charles Porter, the council's operations manager, said the that the trust has indicated that although Quartermaster-Sergeant Ward won his VC in an earlier conflict , it will be prepared to pay half the cost of restoration, which is estimated at £2,000.

The trust's proposal is that it will become owner of the grave, replace the existing headstone, and take responsibility for the grave's upkeep. The existing stone will be taken to the trust's museum

QMS Ward of the 78th Seaforth Highlanders won his award during the Siege of Lucknow, for rescuing his severely-wounded commanding officer, Captain H M Havelock, under heavy fire. 1857 was the first year in which the Victoria Cross was awarded.

After the meeting, Cllr Helen l'Anson, who has been investigating QMS Ward's life, said: "We agreed to look at ways of raising the money.

"We could set up a Henry Ward memorial trust and invite people to make donations. Someone has suggested to me that we get in touch with the Highland regimental museum, which is apparently keen to give out grants. There are various options to explore.

"Henry Ward was born in Norfolk and serves in a Scottish regiment, and I'd like to find out what brought him to Malvern, where he died."