A campaign has been launched to raise £5,000 to help clean up the historic Fenton War Memorial. The Grade II listed monument, which stands in the town’s Albert Square, was unveiled on Armistice Day in 1922.
The total cost of cleaning up the memorial is estimated at £10,000 and funding has been secured from the Stoke-on-Trent City Council conservation budget and other sources. But there is a shortfall of £5,000 that needs to be cleared before the memorial can be cleaned.
An online Crowdfunder campaign launched last week has already raised over £300 and collection boxes will be in place at locations around Fenton including Temple Street Methodist Church, Town Hall Cafe, Locomotive Inn and the Art Bay Gallery.
READ: Albert Square gets a £450,000 makeover – and you’re loving it
The Albert Square monument, which was paid for by public subscription, was sculpted by W & R Mellor Ltd of Moorland Road, Burslem, and is linked to a Minton tiled plaque, mounted in the nearby town hall, which lists the names of soldiers from Fenton who died in the First World War.
The memorial features a life-size sculpture of an unknown soldier at the foot of an obelisk, with carved laurel wreaths and the inscriptions Honour, Sacrifice and Courage around the base, as well as the old Fenton coat of arms and the motto “In front and Up’ on the side facing the town hall.
Last year Albert Square received a £450,000 makeover which included re-paving, tree planting and landscaping. But it is thought that the works may have sprinkled the lower half of the memorial with earth and contributed to its poor condition.
Campaign organizers believe the memorial may have only been cleaned once since it was unveiled nearly 100 years ago, although the soldier’s rifle was repaired in the mid-1990s after being broken by vandals. Cheryl Gerrard, independent ward councilor for Fenton West and Mount Pleasant, is leading the fundraising campaign and providing funds from her ward budget.
She said: “The redevelopment of the square has been great and it would also be appropriate for the memorial to be cleaned up. It’s a major goal for Fenton and it’s important to a lot of people in the community and in other parts. of the city.
“It is a very striking and iconic memorial and it is recognized as being of national significance as it is featured on the homepage of the War Memorials Trust. When you look at the face of the soldier it is a very moving experience .
“We know people don’t have a lot of money at the moment, but every donation will make a difference, even just a pound. We hope the campaign will grow, although it may take longer to achieve the goal than we should have done a few years ago, because our history and our heritage are so important.”
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