Graceful new surrounds to honour fallen in Bassett

Deputy mayor Ian Ferries and Coun Chris Wannell at the memorial

Deputy mayor Ian Ferries and Coun Chris Wannell at the memorial

First published in News

Royal Wootton Bassett’s war memorial has had a facelift befitting its significance at the heart of the community.

Nine months after plans were laid to replace the deteriorating wooden enclosure surrounding the monument, a new frame has been put around the cenotaph with weather-proof artificial grass.

Over time and because of the increasing number of repatriations through the town, the memorial became more important to residents keen to pay homage to the servicemen and women who sacrificed their lives for their country.

The transformation, which cost £500, was completed on Tuesday and the monument’s new grass bed was officially unveiled yesterday.

“It was never meant to stay there long-term,” said head groundsman John Macindoe. “With the repatriations, it became popular and a focus in the town and over the years the frame deteriorated.

“It was paramount that we kept it and upgraded it to something more befitting of the monument.

“It has got that air of grace about it now that it needed.”

The bronze memorial was officially dedicated to the town in October 2004. Since then it has become a symbol in the repatriations. In January 2010, the Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall laid wreaths at the monument at a ceremony dedicating a new flagpole.

Its increasing popularity and the constant laying of wreaths, floral tributes or crosses by townspeople meant removing the frail frame for part of the year was not an option.

“Possibly, if we had not had the repatriations, I imagine it would not have had the attention that it has had,” he added.

Deputy mayor Ian Ferries said: “It was created not only to show our respect for the fallen, but also to pay our respects to those of current day affliction and it is a sign of how much our community cares.”

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