Windfall for memorial to the Portsmouth’s war dead

DELIGHT Jean Louth with the war memorial she campaigned for. Picture: Paul Jacobs (122984-1)
DELIGHT Jean Louth with the war memorial she campaigned for. Picture: Paul Jacobs (122984-1)
The Russian destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov as seen from HMS Somerset in the Moray Firth

Royal Navy ship shadows a Russian destroyer

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FUNDRAISERS for a memorial to honour Portsmouth troops and civilians killed during the Second World War have been handed a big cash boost.

Parkwood Leisure, which runs Portsmouth’s Mountbatten Centre, has donated £9,000 for the memorial in Guildhall Square.

It brings fundraising for the £100,000 project up to £49,000 and comes after the first 600 names were added to the memorial wall, which will eventually feature the names of 3,000 local men, women and children who lost their lives during the war.

Jean Louth, 78, who has been the driving force behind the News-backed memorial campaign since 1989, said: ‘The money from Parkwood Leisure was a very nice surprise indeed.

‘We’re now going to be able to put another 300 names on the wall, which I hope will take us up to the letter G.

‘We are in the process of getting them done and my hope is the new names will be in place before this year’s Remembrance Sunday in November.’

Jean, whose father Harry Short was killed at Dunkirk in 1941, started campaigning for the unique memorial because she ‘couldn’t believe there wasn’t one already’.

She has received strong support from Portsmouth City Council and is now appealing for other firms and members of the public to donate for ‘one last push’ to raise the remainder of the cash that’s needed.

She said: ‘It works out about £30 a name. If everyone in the Portsmouth area spared just a bit of change, then I’m sure we’d have more than enough to finish it all off.’

Andrew Holt, who is chief executive of Parkwood Leisure, said he the company was ‘delighted to support such a noble cause’.

He added: ‘Though we are a national company, we have a strong local connection with Portsmouth as we employ 240 staff in seven leisure businesses in the area. I hope our weight of support for the memorial project will encourage other local businesses to contribute too.’

Donations, no matter how small, can be made to Portsmouth’s World War Two Memorial Fund, 194 Wakefords Way, West Leigh, Havant, PO9 5QD. Alternatively, people can contact the city council directly.