Apiata becomes Victoria Cross patron

03:45, Jan 31 2013
Corporal Willie Apiata
ACTION MAN: Corporal Willie Apiata.

The London-based Victoria Cross Trust has named New Zealand Special Air Services' Willie Apiata as patron of the organisation.

In a tweet the organisation says the Victoria Cross holder, who is now a civilian, "supports our work and becomes a patron".

The trust is dedicated to looking after the graves of Victoria Cross holders who died but are not in Commonwealth War Graves.

"The responsibility for the upkeep of graves belonging to VC recipients, who died in other conflicts or of old age, lies with their relatives," the site says.

"Many of these burial plots have fallen into disrepair and suffer from neglect. Families and relatives have dwindled or died out and sometimes the descendants are unaware that they exist, or they simply cannot afford to maintain them."

Apiata, 40, won his VC in action in Afghanistan for rescuing a man under fire.

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