LETTER: Centenary of outbreak of First World War approaching

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We have at last realised the Centenary of the outbreak of the First World War in August 2014 is less than three years away. Plans to mark this milestone are indeed being formed now for the four-year period which will culminate in the Centenary of the Armistice in November 2018.

The only tangible reminder most of us have of this terrible conflict are our war memorials which tend to attract publicity for the right – and wrong – reasons. Heart-warming renovation stories are countered with heart-rending stories of theft of metal plaques, vandalism and other abuse; the latter prompting people to put finger to keyboard, usually to express their disgust. In short, when the chips are down, society, for the most part, cares – and the 2018 Centenary gives us a chance to prove it.

My idea is the creation of a “National War Memorial Restoration Fund” to be used to renovate, where necessary, our war memorials to their original condition by November 2018. The fund would be government (i.e. taxpayers’) money aimed specifically at the necessary structural checks, re-engraving and specialist stone and metal cleaning etc. to counter the 90 years or so of erosion our war memorials have suffered.

With finances tight I accept there is always a case for spending money on the living rather than the dead. However, this unique part of our “built heritage” and the sacrifice it represents, is surely worth saving. Why? If it were not for that sacrifice, the lives we have all lived since would have been very different. Visit www.clean2018.moonfruit.com for details.

RAY THOMPSON