Todmorden Civic Society’s project to replace the stolen Gilbert Bayes statues in the Garden of Remembrance at Centre Vale Park moved a step closer as it was announced that the funding required for the replacement statues has been secured.
In less than 24 months the project, initiated and managed by the Civic Society’s former Chairman Paul Clarke, had raised over £13,000 through donations, successful grant applications and collection boxes located in shops and businesses around the town.
For a several months the maquettes (scale replicas of the statues) made by stone carver Nick Roberson have been on display at the United Services Club, HQ of the Royal British Legion, White Hart Fold. The originals were stolen two decades ago.
Mr Clarke, a former soldier in the Royal Artillery, said: “War memorials are a poignant reminder of the selfless sacrifice made for their country. We may not know their individual stories or their faces but their names are remembered by yesterday’s, today’s and tomorrow’s generations.”
Todmorden Civic Society Chairman Darren Midgley added: “With the of the centenary of the commencement of the First World War only 12 months away it is only right that this and other war memorials are repaired and you only have to look at the crowds of people who attend Remembrance Sunday every year to see that this really matters to people in Todmorden”.
The Todmorden Garden of Remembrance Trust (TGRT) has been formed in order to undertake further fundraising and grant applications for the ongoing programme of restoration to the Garden of Remembrance, and in particular repairs to the name tablets and the back wall.
As part of recent maintenance work, Calderdale Council funded the relaying of paths around the gardens and the TRGT contributed £600 towards replacement edging stones, which will further complement the garden in time for the rededication in 2014. Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Coun Steve Sweeney, said: “Working with Todmorden Civic Society, we have already been improving the look of the paths around the Memorial Garden, and have repaired or replaced the stone edgings to the path, which had become damaged. New tarmac has also been laid to make the surface more even. We are also going to be working on restoring the memorial wall and staircase, ensuring that the iconic area is cleaned and repaired in time to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.”
Darren Widdup, secretary of the Todmorden Branch of the Royal British Legion, said: “The trust hopes to raise funds for a new stone tablet which will feature the names of fallen Todmorden soldiers who were missed off the memorial at the time, along with reinstatement of the flower beds with species of rose from that era, and we would like to thank funeral directors J&C Warburton for their kind donation of £400 which will be put towards this.”
For more information about the Todmorden Garden of Remembrance Trust, please contact TGRT Secretary Stephen Ormerod on 01706 819510.