New memorial to mark Great War anniversary

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A NEW town centre memorial plaque is set to be unveiled during a civic ceremony as part of a borough’s commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.

Fareham Borough Council’s ruling executive has agreed to spend about £32,000 on a raft of measures and events to mark the landmark occasion and the 70th anniversary of D-Day, which are both next year.

Councillor Connie Hockley, who is in charge of community matters for the council, said: ‘We aren’t celebrating these events, but we do intend to sensitively commemorate them. We will be putting in a request to the Heritage Lottery Fund for some of the money.’

The centrepiece of the year would be a civic event on August 4 to remember those who fought in the First World War, with members of the armed forces, local organisations and the clergy invited to take part. It would involve the unveiling of a commemorative plaque or stone, possibly at the podium in West Street.

There are also plans to improve the space behind Holy Trinity Church on West Street with new rose planting, the creation of a small wild flower meadow, some new trees and two new benches.

Packets of poppy seeds, marked ‘Remember’ will be distributed to people, schools and groups.

At the four sites designated as Queen Elizabeth II jubilee parks in 2012 – Allotment Road in Sarisbury, Bath Lane rec in Fareham, Seafield Park in Hill Head and Wicor rec in Portchester – wild flower meadows will be planted.

During a recent executive meeting, Tory council leader Cllr Sean Woodward proposed adding £20,000 from the council’s reserves for cleaning, maintaining and upgrading the war memorials, in Fareham’s West Street, Portchester precinct, Sarisbury Green, Shore Road in Warsash, Stubbington War, Titchfield and Victory Hall, Warsash.

Stubbington Lib Dem ward councillor Jim Forrest added: ‘There have been discussions about the upkeep of the memorial in my ward, so I welcome the announcement about the extra funding.’

Of the remaining money, £10,000 has been allocated from the council’s 2012/13 underspend with £2,600 to be found from existing revenue budgets.