To say Jean Louth is inspirational is an understatement. For the past 23 years, she’s been campaigning for a new war memorial in Portsmouth’s Guildhall Square to commemorate the 3,000 people who lost their lives during the Second World War from the city.
The £90,000 cost may have seemed like an insurmountable amount when she started trying to raise the money.
But Jean pressed on with the fundraising and little by little, the memorial began to take shape.
It has been slow progress, but now she’s ready to take a great leap forward thanks to a £20,000 bequest, which will add 1,200 names to the plaque that already has 600.
This comes hot on the heels of £9,000 donations from Wightlink, the Mountbatten Centre and Veolia.
It’s fantastic news, not only because the memorial is one step closer to completion, but also because it means Jean’s a step closer to fulfilling her dream.
As she says in the story on page 5, ‘It’s been 23 years but we’re getting there. I don’t know what I’ll do with the rest of my life when it’s done.’
It’s Jean’s spirit that we truly admire.
The determination needed to keep going even when it seemed like she might never get there.
A challenge made all the harder by the fact that she was reminded of the fact it was incomplete each time she looked at the memorial.
But now, with £60,000 of the memorial complete, for the first time she can see the end in sight.
And this latest advance is all the more poignant as the money means she’s be able to see her father Harry Short’s name on the memorial. He died at Dunkirk in 1940.
So now it’s the final push. Let’s all get behind Jean and help raise the last £30,000 she needs to finish a lifetime’s hard work.