Appeal launch to remember town’s heroes

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The fund to raise money towards the refurbishment of Dunstable’s War Memorial in Priory Gardens was launched on Saturday.

The memorial, built in 1952, is somewhat dilapidated and showing signs of subsiding, so it is to be renovated and refaced with durable Portland stone. The plaques listing the Dunstable service people who died in the two World Wars are to be recast so that names that had been omitted can now be included. There will also be a Combined Services stone to remember the nation’s other conflicts since the two major wars.

Money towards the refurbishment costs is being raised by an internet crowdfunding appeal organised by the Friends of Priory House and Gardens. The Mayor of Dunstable, Councillor Gloria Martin, made the first pledge on Saturday and by the end of the day nearly £1,000 had been contributed, even though the number of people attending the event was limited by the bad weather.

June Byrne conducted a tour of the war memorial for those people (pictured) brave enough to face the elements and later she gave a talk in Priory House about some of Dunstable’s war victims.

Also in Priory House on Saturday was a display of war memorabilia provided by David Underwood, who had earlier talked on BBC Three Counties Radio about the appeal. He brought along several German and Allied World War One helmets, the remains of a Lee Enfield rifle from the Somme, German death-notification letters and memorabilia such as items made from metal from crashed Zeppelins. Case histories of fallen service men and women were also displayed and these can be viewed at Priory House for the next month.

The cost of the war-memorial refurbishment will be around £50,000 so Dunstable people will be hearing much more about the Crowdfunding appeal over the next month. An internet search for Dunstable War Memorial Refurbishment Crowdfunding brings up details of how to contribute.

Members of the public who do not have access to a computer but wish to donate can do so by visiting Priory House where the staff will assist them.