Donington's most famous son: Government back campaign to have Matthew Flinders returned to home village
The leader of the House of Commons, Mel Stride, has backed a campaign for Captain Matthew Flinders to be returned home to Donington.
Matthew's remains were discovered in January as HS2 archaeologists excavated a graveyard near London's Euston Station.
MP Sir John Hayes supports Donington's bid - and the wish of the explorers' descendants - to see the village church become Matthew's final resting place.
Sir John won Government support after asking a question in the House of Commons on Thursday.
"It's another boost to our campaign," said Sir John. "The Government basically said they would act to try to get Matthew Flinders returned to Donington and that was obviously a big commitment from them."
In the House, Sir John said: “We are what we remember, and what our forefathers did helps to shape the places we call home.
“In my home - my constituency -we remember Captain Matthew Flinders, who first charted the coast of Australia and whose body was found by chance during excavations in London recently.
“We want to bring him home to Donington in Lincolnshire. What ministerial statement might be made to help us in that effort, 200 years - more than that, actually - after Flinders was buried? South Holland simply wants to pay its final farewell to our master mariner.”
Mel Stride replied: “I thank my Right Hon Friend very much for raising this issue.
“Matthew Flinders was a very great nautical man - a great explorer of Australia, in particular.
“Of course, my Right Hon Friend and I share something in common in that we were both distinguished members of the Government Whips Office at various stages in our careers, which is probably why he has alighted on the fact that he is so good at finding out where the bodies are buried- but in this case we have established that it is somewhere near Euston station.
“I will do whatever I can to assist him in his quest to make sure that the remains of Matthew Flinders find their home where they should be, in Donington in his constituency.”
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