Council ‘optimistic’ war memorial repairs will be completed by autumn in centenary year

The memorial on Remembrance Day.

The memorial on Remembrance Day. - Credit: Archant

Weston-super-Mare’s war memorial could be repaired in time for the World War One centenary this year, as a planning application to restore its missing olive branch has been submitted.

The war memorial... but without an olive branch.

The war memorial... but without an olive branch. - Credit: Archant

The statue, in Grove Park, has been incomplete for decades, as its olive branch disappeared some time after 1975.

Weston Town Council decided to repair it at the beginning of 2017, and has applied to the War Memorial Trust for funding as the work may cost around £11,000.

It has also applied to North Somerset Council for listed building consent to replace the olive branch, clean the bronze sculpture and repair the stonework.

Town council clerk Malcolm Nicholson said: “We are running everything together because we don’t want a delay later.

A cold and frosty morning in Grove Park. Picture: Annabell Hawkins

A cold and frosty morning in Grove Park. Picture: Annabell Hawkins - Credit: Annabell Hawkins

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“We have run a procurement and got prices for the repairs, and we are applying for listed building consent and funding from the War Memorial Trust.

“The repair prices were a little lower than we feared.”

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The town council has promises of match-funding from Weston Civic Society and North Somerset Council, which is responsible for the park and the sculpture.

War memorial with olive branch in 1974 or 1975.

War memorial with olive branch in 1974 or 1975. - Credit: Archant

The report by a conservation expert says the bronze angel sculpture is in ‘poor condition’ as the protective coatings have deteriorated.

The report said: “This has left the surface of the bronze elements with a dry, patchy, green-brown appearance and not the original rich brown which would have had a soft sheen to the surface to enhance the sculpture’s high and low lights of the modelling and the names on the plaques.”

It is hoped funding and planning permission will be secured this year, to coincide with the Remembrance Day service marking the centenary of the end of World War One.

Mr Nicholson said: “I am optimistic we can get this done in time for this autumn.

“It would be a lovely thing to do for the town. We’re pleased everyone is coming together in the town to make this happen.”

MORE: When the Nazis set their sights on Weston-super-Mare – the blitz of 1942.

The memorial has been in the park since 1922, and lists the names of 402 men who died in World War One, and 186 names from World War Two.

It is also inscribed with the names of 113 civilians, a casualty from the Korean War, and another from the Egyptian Suez crisis of 1956.

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