Whaley Bridge war memorial finally complete with restoration of roll of honour

Three years after it was destroyed in a severe storm, restoration work on the Whaley Bridge war memorial has finally been completed with the reinstatement of 147 names to be remembered for generations to come.

By Ed Dingwall
Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 4:53 pm

The memorial itself was rededicated in a ceremony in September but questions remained over how to fund the stonework for the town’s roll of honour from the two World Wars.

Long-serving Poppy Appeal coordinator John Baker was determined to see it happen before he retires from the role in November, so launched a crowdfunding campaign which quickly raised £800 in small donations and a £600 gift from one generous benefactor.

John said: “Over the years the names of those brave man and women from the village had slowly disappeared from the memorial.

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Poppy Appeal coordinator John Baker, pictured right with Royal British Legion colleague John Cooke, has led fundraising efforts to complete work on the memorial.

“Most of the work had already been funded by High Peak Borough Council, individual councillors and other people so we just needed to get it over the line.”

He added: “After organising the poppy collections for the last 26 years, I feel like I will be leaving this as a permanent legacy.”

“The memorial is a centre piece to our small village where the community young and old can come to pay their respects and have a moment of quiet reflection, so we are also installing a bench next to the memorial to mark the centenary of the Royal British Legion, possibly two if people are still willing to make donations.”

In September 2018, Storm Ali battered the memorial park, causing landslides and falling trees, including one which toppled the memorial’s Celtic cross and caused irreparable damage.

It will now resume its proper position as a focal point for the Remembrance Day ceremony on Sunday, November 14.

This year’s event will also acknowledge the Legion’s centenary, with an installation of white crosses throughout the park, each bearing a poppy and the name of a local man who died at war.

The crosses will be installed on Friday, November 12, and remain for several days, and will be illuminated for three hours at dusk each night.

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the bench appeal can go to https://bit.ly/3GzviYf.

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