Thanks to Stewart Blackmore in his capacity as the Vice Chair of the Ventnor British Legion for details of this public appeal. Ed
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”
Ventnor Royal British Legion Branch has been worried for some time about the rapidly deteriorating condition of the War memorial at Ventnor Park.
It was noticed that it was leaning quite markedly and that there was evidence of plant life growing on the memorial stone. The stonework was crumbling to the touch and most of the names of those lost during the two world wars were becoming unrecognisable. Something had to be done!
Ventnor has in recent years hosted one of the most popular Remembrance Services and parade on
the Island, culminating in a march from St Catherine’s church to the Memorial at Ventnor Park, on Remembrance Sunday in November each year.
A restored memorial to the fallen heroes who gave their lives in the service of our Country is the least that is deserved for those many who wish to remember them, and for their memory.
Following the paper trail
Two members of the VRBL committee, Chairman Barry Croad (who has sadly passed away since) and Derek Deacon were charged with the daunting task of finding out who had responsibility for the Memorial – and this proved to be no easy task. Enquiries over many months led the committee to the conclusion that no one seemed willing to accept responsibility.
However Barry and Derek persisted and, eventually gained the support of Ventnor Town Council which agreed to lend its help. Town Clerk David Bartlett, together with Councillors Jim Toogood and Harry Rees were only too happy to help, especially with sourcing the funds needed for the renovation.
After a long process of due diligence the Council invited companies to tender for the work. As a result of this process a shortlist of three was presented to Legion for consideration.
Selection committee formed
A selection committee was formed of two representatives from the Town Council (Town Clerk David Bartlett and Councillor Harry Rees) and two from the Royal British Legion (Vice Chair Stewart Blackmore and Derek Deacon) and the unanimous choice was that the contract be awarded to Henry Ingram & Sons, a long established Ventnor firm.
This was then ratified at meetings of Ventnor Town Council and Ventnor RBL respectively. It was agreed that Ventnor RBL would set up a restoration fund and appoint Trustees to manage the fund. The Trustees are: Mr Nigel Hawley, Mr Bernard Cawley and Mr Stewart Blackmore.
The total cost of the restoration is £47,000 and we have gained the financial support of the National War Memorials Trust, Ventnor Town Council and the Isle of Wight Council for the largest part of the needed funds.
Your help needed
However, we still need to raise in the region of £6,000 before this much needed restoration can begin, and this is where you – the Ventnor & IOW public can help. We are appealing to you to donate whatever you can to help in this very worthwhile cause and to help towards a fitting memorial for our fallen heroes.
An account has been opened at HSBC bank, High Street, Ventnor, in the name of the Ventnor War Memorial Fund.
If you would like to make a donation, the staff at the bank will be happy to help. You can also take your donation to the Ventnor RBL Social Club. Please make cheques payable to the Ventnor War Memorial Fund.
Every penny raised will be used exclusively for the restoration. With your help the Remembrance
Day parade in November 2014 will be very memorable indeed. Thank you.
Ventnor British Legion
135 High Street
Image: © Used with the kind permission of Leightonian