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Moving ceremony for Wecock war memorial

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A GIANT poppy has been unveiled as the centrepiece to an estate’s memorial garden.

Volunteers at the Acorn Community Centre in Wecock came up with the idea of creating a peaceful and tranquil place of reflection for residents who have lost loved ones in war.

The land, on the corner of Eagle Avenue and Grebe Close, was empty and friends Richard Newnham and Fred Monck thought it would be the ideal location.

With the help of Portsmouth City Council housing officers and building maintenance firm Mountjoy, the land was transformed ready for the concrete and poured resin poppy to be installed.

Yesterday scores of people gathered for the official opening by Councillor Marjorie Smallcorn, the mayor of Havant.

Poems were read and the Last Post and Reveille were played by a bugler.

Mr Monck, 59, from Crookhorn, said: ‘The idea came to us over a cup of coffee in the residents’ participation office at the city council where we were discussing what to do with this land.

‘We asked Mountjoy if they could help and they agreed straight away to provide the manpower and materials to build the monument.

‘Lots of people were involved to make this happen.’

Mr Newnham, also 59, said: ‘The reaction we got from the community was positive.

‘Everyone thought it was a good idea. So many people we spoke to have either lost loved ones in war or have family members who are serving in the armed forces now.

‘Mountjoy has done the community proud by building this memorial. We were a bit worried about whether it would all come together but it has and it is excellent.’

The Royal British Legion donated 100 wooden crosses with poppies which were planted just behind the memorial by residents.

Councillor Gerald Shimbart, who represents Hart Plain, said the huge community effort made him feel proud to represent the area.

Stuart McIntyre, operations manager at Mountjoy, added: ‘We went round and spoke to a lot of contractors that we use and asked if they could contribute and they agreed.’

 

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