A STUDENT was selected over hundreds of applicants to give guided tours at a First World War grave site in France.

Lucy-Anne Hickey, a 21-year-old from Southend, became the intern at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and was based at the Thiepval Memorial, on the battlefields of the Somme.

The Thiepval Memorial commemorates 72,000 British and South African soldiers who died on the Somme before March 20, 1918, and have no grave.

The bloodiest Somme battle is generally acknowledged to have taken place between July and November 1916.

Lucy-Anne, who attended two schools in Southend, welcomed visitors and provided tours, and helped visitors to find out more information about their own family history.

The internship lasted four months.

Lucy-Anne, speaking about her experience, said: “My internship with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has been the most rewarding experience of my life.

“Having gained the opportunity to work with experts during archaeological digs, to attend re-burials for discovered soldiers, and engage with visitors from across the globe, with a common interest in history and war commemorations, will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

In October this year, she attended a reburial of 13 unknown soldiers of the First World War in Ypres, a key town in the campaign.

She also attended the reburial of Lance Corporal Frederick Thomas Perkins from Chelmsford in Loos British Cemetery and also laid a wreath on Armistice Day.

Xavier Puppinck, the CWGC’s Director of Western Europe France, said: “We welcome hundreds of thousands visitors to our cemeteries and memorials in France every year and we are delighted to have young people such as Lucy-Anne on site to be able to guide our visitors and enriching their experience.”

Applications for the 2020 programme are now open, and more information is available at www.CWGC.org/interns.