Missing memorial plaques set to be replaced

PUBLISHED: 10:00 27 December 2010

The new plaques could cost around £5,000

The new plaques could cost around £5,000

Archant

COMMEMORATIVE plaques stolen from a war memorial in Weston are finally set to be replaced.

The original two copper plaques were torn off the memorial in Grove Park by thieves two years ago, and Royal British Legion members were unable to find the list of the names of those commemorated on the plaques.

It is thought the plaques, which had the names of 12 servicemen and women who lost their lives in World Wars I and II and more recent conflicts, were melted down for scrap metal.

But now, following a public appeal for information in the Mercury, members of the public have come forward with all the names needed, meaning new plaques will soon be back on the memorials.

Mike Pharoah, 65, chairman of the Legion’s Weston branch said: “It’s very pleasing and surprising because I was getting a bit disappointed with the lack of response I was getting about the plaques.

“But then, following the appeal in the Mercury, different people with information got in touch with me all at once.

“I’ve had one gentleman from Middlezoy near Bridgwater get in touch with information, and one from the Midlands, who had taken photos of the plaques before they were taken off, and through all this helpful information we’ve been able to piece together the names which should be on the plaque.”

Mr Pharoah says he will now talk to North Somerset Council about funding for the plaques, and if the council cannot finance the new plaques, he may start an independent appeal.

He added: “To get the new plaques made and put up, will probably cost more than £5,000, so obviously I’m going to ask the council to see if they can fund it. If they can’t, then we’ll think about setting up our own appeal.”

Mr Pharoah also said there were plans to include extra names on the plaques of servicemen who have died in the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A spokesman for North Somerset Council said: “It’s good news that people have come forward with information which means the plaques can be replaced and we will look at any funding request we receive as favourably as possible.

“However we are in a situation where we are having to make savings of £47million from our budgets over the next four years and money is going to be very tight.”

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