Chivenor troops launch £150k campaign for memorial garden

Lieutenant Colonel Simon Fuller, Lt Al Martin and The Reverend Peter Scott examine plans for the new

Lieutenant Colonel Simon Fuller, Lt Al Martin and The Reverend Peter Scott examine plans for the new memorial garden at RMB Chivenor. - Credit: Archant

New community place for remembrance and reflection will provide fitting tribute to fallen servicemen and women.

A MEMORIAL garden to pay tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country could be ready in time to host a Remembrance Day service at RMB Chivenor this November.

Troops at the barracks have launched an ambitious plan to raise £150,000 to replace an existing memorial deemed too small for parades and difficult for members of the wider community to access.

The new garden and parade area would pay homage to 80 personnel who have lost their lives in training or combat since the units were established at the base in 1955.

It would also provide a special community place for remembrance and reflection, as well as for those carrying unseen mental scars in the aftermath of conflict.

Lieutenant Colonel Simon Fuller said: “We are determined that this memorial garden will become a place to reflect, remember and contemplate - for our families, for us and for wider friends and supporters of the garrison.

“The intention is that it will strike the right balance between sadness and celebration and have an area that is accessible to all while being suitable for young children.”

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The garden would be built in a wooded area adjacent to the garrison chapel, outside the main entrance to the base.

It will include a Portland stone memorial wall featuring bronze plaques bearing the names of the fallen, as well as the crests of the Commando Logistic Regiment Royal Marines, 24 Commando Engineer Regiment, and A Flight 22 Squadron Royal Air Force Search and Rescue.

Elsewhere in the garden there will be ‘air’, ‘earth’ and ‘water’ memorials for the Royal Air Force, Royal Engineer and Royal Marine associations.

The Reverend Peter Scott, Royal Marine Chaplain for RMB Chivenor, said: “A lot of people have made that sacrifice so it’s good that North Devon has something to recognise that.

“It will also provide a permanent reminder to anyone entering or leaving the barracks.”

As part of the project, the chapel is also set to be refurbished to provide more of a welcoming place for families, and to reflect this history of the barracks.

Rev Scott said: “The chapel will be a fitting and dignified place for bereaved families to be entertained while they visit the memorial garden.

“Somewhere they can come to remember the example of the past and appreciate what the military and military sacrifice is all about.”

Lt Col Fuller said work on the chapel would start this week thanks to a £20,000 grant from a services charity, while work on the garden itself could start by the end of the month.

“We are hoping the garden will be ready for Remembrance Day this year,” he said.

“The plan is to set the main stone and start the foundation and groundwork as this will then enable us to get on with the rest of the garden.

“We’ve had many offers of support from the community, including from a local sculptor and landscape gardeners who have offered to come in and help maintain the garden.

“The appeal has already seemed to hit the right notes with the local community – and we hope that with their generosity and support, the memorial garden will become a worthy focal point for remembrance and reflection for all.”

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A number of fund-raising events are being planned throughout the year, including a table top sale in the chapel on Saturday, February 9 from 10am.

Teams of four will be invited to tackle the ‘Chivenor Commando Challenge’ taking place in May or June.

A RMB Chivenor Memorial Garden Trust has been set up to handle fund-raising. To donate or offer to help telephone 01271 857002 or email 3cdox-clr-memorialgarden@mod.uk

Alternatively, donate on-line at www.justgiving.com/RMBChivenor-Memorial-Garden or search for ‘RMB Chivenor Memorial Garden Appeal’ on Facebook.

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