Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Formal memorial area and parade ground set to be ready for its first Remembrance event this November.
THE Memorial Garden at RMB Chivenor is to host its first official engagement this Remembrance Day.
The first phase of the £150,000 memorial project to honour those who have given their lives for their country is almost complete, thanks to a fund raising appeal that has been embraced by the people of North Devon.
A formal garden, Portland stone memorial ‘wall’ and parade ground just outside the base entrance will be a place of remembrance and reflection for anyone who wishes to visit.
The area will be surrounded by three gardens with ‘earth, air and water’ themes to represent the three services, but there is a great deal of work still to do and it has been decided to delay the official opening of the full garden until spring next year.
Second in command at the base, Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Tulloch, said the huge public support for the project had been surprising and touching.
Now it is hoped one final fund raising push will help drive it to the finish line.
The pillars of the main memorial are now in place and will soon bear the crests of the three units at Chivenor - Commando Logistic Regiment Royal Marines, 24 Commando Engineer Regiment, and A Flight 22 Squadron Royal Air Force Search and Rescue.
Either side will bear bronze plaques with the names of service personnel who have lost their lives in training or combat from the three units currently serving at Chivenor. The surrounding gardens will include the fallen who have served at the base since the 1940s.
“We are really grateful to the community for everything they have donated,” said Lt Col Tulloch.
“We have been overwhelmed by the support from local companies, such as Jewson Barnstaple that donated a tonne of slate and the Ilfracombe branch donated 12 tonnes of cement and materials. Hanson Aggregate of Brayford donated 130 tonnes of aggregate and delivered it free.
“We’ve been blown away by that and it has saved us a significant amount of money.”
He also paid tribute to Barnstaple councillor Ian Roome, who he said had been instrumental in taking the fund raising appeal out to the community.
The garrison chapel beside the memorial garden has also been renovated as part of the project, mostly paid for by Ministry of Defence funding.
Lieutenant Al Martin, who has also been involved with the project from the start, said it was great to see it coming together: “When it was an abstract idea for an open field and we were fund raising, the completion date did seem very far away,” he said.
“It has made me more aware of how many people have been involved with Chivenor over the decades. Remembrance Day will be the first formal use by the garrison and it will be excellent to see everybody here.”
* IF you can help the final appeal push, call 01271 857002 or email email@example.com. Alternatively, donate on-line at www.justgiving.com/RMBChivenor-Memorial-Garden or search for ‘RMB Chivenor Memorial Garden Appeal’ on Facebook.