Deputy mayor offers service to soldiers' families

Nelson's deputy mayor Paul Matheson is heading to Belgium war cemeteries to lay poppies and is offering to do so for others.

He will lay a poppy on his great uncle's grave at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery and is calling on Tasman and Nelson residents who have relatives buried there to get in touch so he can lay poppies on their behalf to mark the World War I centenary.

Matheson visited Belgium last year, but did not know at the time his great uncle Neil McLeod Matheson was buried at the cemetery.

"We got the opportunity to go though the New Zealand cemeteries and just look at how magnificent they really were, but also at the same time is was a bit awe inspiring to see so many Kiwi names."

After some Google research he later discovered where his uncle was buried in the cemetery, near Popoeringe, and decided to return to Belgium to pay his respects while in Europe visiting his daughter in August this year.

"Then I had a thought: Well maybe, since I am going to be there, does anyone want me to put a poppy on a friend or relative's grave if they are in that cemetery," he said.

The Nelson RSA was providing him with poppies to take over.

People can contact him at with soldiers' names, service numbers and any other relevant information and he will arrange the rest.

The Nelson Mail