New Pelton war memorial set for dedication and unveiling

October 11, 2019 | Community News

Pictured above: (clockwise from back left) Gerry Walker, chair of Pelton Parish Council, Lewis Stokes of The Banks Group and parish councillors Miriam Lonsdale-Cope and Stephen Hann

A new war memorial honouring the sacrifice and memory of dozens of servicemen from a County Durham community is set to be officially unveiled.

Pelton Parish Council launched a campaign in June last year to raise the funds required to create the memorial, which will sit in Pelton Cemetery, from a 12.5 tonne piece of sandstone taken from the Witton Fell quarry at Leyburn in North Yorkshire.

A range of local fundraising activities and donations saw residents quickly raising around £3,000, while further financial support was also secured from a range of other sources, including £6,000 from Section 106 Funding, £2,000 from the Neighbourhood Budgets of local County Councillors, £7,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £5,000 from regional employer The Banks Group’s Banks Community Fund, with shortfalls being made up by Pelton Parish Council

Darlington-based master stonemason David France was commissioned to create the memorial, which features a cross, a steel soldier’s helmet (pictured below) and a steel poppy on the front (pictured below, above Cllr Gerry Walker’s quote).

Close up of Pelton War Memorial

An official dedication and unveiling ceremony will be led by Reverend John Lintern, vicar of Holy Trinity Church in Pelton, from 2pm on Sunday 20 October, and will be attended by guests including local MP the Right Honourable Kevan Jones and Katie Corrigan, Chairman of Durham County Council.

There will be representatives from organisations including the Armed Forces, The Durham Light Infantry Association, and the Durham Diocese of the Church of England, along with church representation from several other denominations.

The ceremony will be open for anyone to attend, but due to space limitations, anyone wishing to attend must obtain a free ticket beforehand.

There are 28 War Graves Commission burials from the two world wars sited in Pelton Cemetery. All will be commemorated in the Book of Remembrance to be held in the Pelton Community Centre.

Close up of the steel poppy on Pelton War Memorial

Councillor Gerry Walker, chair of Pelton Parish Council, says: “Until now, Pelton has not had its own war memorial, and the recent commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One and the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings revealed a desire among local residents to recognise the sacrifice of local service personnel.

The Parish Council held a public meeting last year to discuss the project and attracted unanimous support for it, an enthusiasm which was matched by the fundraising that local people subsequently carried out. Local veterans from the Durham Light Infantry Association have been very actively involved with the project and with planning the Dedication Ceremony.

“The funding awarded by Section 106 Monies, Neighbourhood Budgets from local County Councillors the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Banks Community Fund has enabled us to move things forward quickly.

“We’re looking forward to sharing this new memorial with the local community next month, and hope that as many members of the local community will be able to join us for the dedication ceremony.”

Free tickets will be available from the Parish Clerk on 0191 370 1969, by email on clerk@peltonparishcouncil.gov.uk or by visiting the Parish Office during normal opening hours, details of which are on the www.peltonparishcouncil.gov.uk website.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at The Banks Group, adds: “We’re proud to be supporting such an important community project in our home county and to be helping to honour the memories of dozens of local people who gave their lives in the service of their country.”

The Banks Community Fund provides grants for community groups and voluntary organisations in the vicinity of Banks Group projects.

Anyone interested in applying for funding should contact the fund manager for the Banks Community Fund at County Durham Community Foundation, on 0191 378 6342 to check if their group or project is eligible.

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