'They deserve to be remembered.' Village receives royal congratulations following war memorial campaign
PUBLISHED: 17:40 01 November 2018
Queen Elizabeth II sent a letter to the Suffolk village which campaigned to erect its first war memorial.
Her Majesty has congratulated the Capel St Mary War Memorial Trust who were able to raise £20,000 over the last two years in order to pay for the village’s first dedication to the fallen.
She also praised the students of East Bergholt High School who were heavily involved in the village’s memorial awareness project and lent their artistic skills to the village’s remembrance exhibition.
The exhibition and monument will be fully unveiled on Sunday, November 11 for the centenary armistice celebrations.
Overjoyed with the trust’s efforts, RAF reserve Group Captain, Gary Bunkell sent a letter about the project to the Queen and received one in response.
The reply, written by the Queen’s Lady-in-Waiting Susan Hussey, reads: “The Queen was pleased to hear that the residents of the village, and the staff and pupils at East Bergholt High School in particular, have shown such commitment to this project and the War Memorial Monument.”
Captain Bunkell originally wrote to the Queen hoping to get a response for the students of East Bergholt High.
He said: “In my military experience the Queen always tries to read all the letters she is sent.
“I wanted to get a reply for the children at East Bergholt who have been so involved in our awareness project, it’s not everyday that their school will get a mention from the Queen.”
He continued: “We have done what needed to be done for the village.
“You can debate about war and remembrance but there are some simple truths, over the last 100 years 35 men left this village and didn’t come back. They deserve to be remembered.”
The village did collect for a monument in the 1920s but then used the funds to provide medical care for their war wounded.
Since then the building of a memorial in Capel was proposed twice but never carried out.
David Thompson is another member of the Capel War Memorial Trust, he said: “Future generations will walk past this memorial and can learn about the sacrifice and the horror of war.
“Our generation was very aware of what happened but this is for the generations that comes after.”