Bereaved parents campaign to stop plans to demolish RAF chapel (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Bereaved parents campaign to stop plans to demolish RAF chapel
6:00pm Wednesday 14th August 2013 in News
The mother of a fallen soldier has told of her heartache at the Ministry of Defence’s plans to demolish the chapel of rest at RAF Lyneham.
Jacqui Janes organised a vigil at the site on Sunday to protest against plans to remove the place where her son was repatriated.
Grenadier Guardsman Jamie Janes, who was killed in Afghanistan aged 20 in 2009, is one of 345 servicemen and women to have been repatriated through the chapel.
More than 100 people gathered on Sunday for an “emotional, peaceful and dignified” protest, with many arriving from all over the country.
During repatriations at Lyneham, coffins were returned by aircraft and laid in private rooms at the chapel of rest, but now the MoD plans to demolish it to make way for a new military training facility and create a garden of remembrance at the site instead.
Ms Janes said: “I cannot emphasise enough the emotion that is attached to that building.
“How can the MoD just wipe out such an important, emotional place for the families that have met their loved ones there? It’s just wrong.”
The MoD said the garden would reflect the role played by Lyneham as an RAF base in repatriating military personnel. It would also be home to the commemorative plaque that is situated in the chapel of rest on site.
A new repatriation centre had also opened at RAF Brize Norton, in Oxfordshire, to let relatives pay their respects.
An online petition to save the chapel has received more than 5,430 signatures. A similar number have signed a paper petition, to be presented to the MoD.
MP for North Wiltshire James Gray said none of his constituents had raised concerns with him but he had put down some parliamentary questions on the issue.
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