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Woodbridge: Town rallies round to revive First World War memorial

11:43 15 April 2014

The war memorial in Woodbridge is set for refurbishment and improvement ahead of the WW1 commemorations.

The war memorial in Woodbridge is set for refurbishment and improvement ahead of the WW1 commemorations.

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A memorial garden is set for a makeover as part of a town’s First World War centenary commemorations.

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Preparations are being made to restore the War Memorial Garden on Woodbridge’s Market Hill.

Town councillors and members of the Rotary Club, Royal British Legion (RBL) and Woodbridge Museum, formed a committee to raise cash for the improvements, which include disabled access via a new gate and extended paving around the memorial and Queen Victoria statue - also set to be restored.

New lighting is to be installed and a new bench commissioned, along with a memorial to honour the involvement of Suffolk horses in the war.

Cliff Baldock, deputy parade marshall for the RBL, said: “Remembrance services are always so well attended in Woodbridge. Last year we were running out of space for everyone. The memorial is right in the centre of town and we think it is the right time for renovation.”

Donations have been made from the community enabling budgets of district councillors Geoff Holdcroft, Les Binns, Josh Sayles and Diana Ball, and from the locality budget of county councillor Caroline Page.

Town councillor Kay Yule said she was delighted with the generosity so far, and praised fellow councillor Caroline Blois for helping to get the project off the ground.

According to Woodbridge Museum’s Bob Merrett, the land was bought in 1884 by US naval captain William Mann and given to Woodbridge as a token of his regard for his father’s former home town. Approval was then given to convert it into an “open space for the benefit of the town”.

Undergrowth has already been cleared from the area following generous response to a local letter drop and grant applications. The second phase begins after the RBL’s centenary event at Kingston Field on July 27.

Funds will be raised for the upkeep of the garden at a quiz night on May 23. Tickets are available from the Shire Hall for £6.

Mr Merrett will also give a talk on Woodbridge’s involvement in the war at 7pm on June 5 in the community hall. Tickets are £3 on door or from the Shire Hall.

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