Help me preserve our war memorial heritage

My name is David Eason and I am a regional volunteer for The War Memorials Trust “Protecting and conserving war memorial heritage”.

Over the past few months I have been recording in association with the United Kingdom National Inventory of War Memorials (Imperial War Museum, London) and carrying out condition surveys of the 33 war memorials and rolls of honour for the first ever time on behalf of the trust within the Royal Leamington Spa area including, Lillington, Cubbington, Whitnash and the village of Old Milverton.

As the result of the surveys I have discovered that there are several which are in poor condition and two of which are structurally unsound. To be able to preserve these memorials work is required to be carried out.

The cost of which the trust can offer two types of grants to help with;

1. “Free standing” memorial or roll of honour; Covers 50 per cent of the cost above £3,000 up to a maximum of £20,000.

2. “Fixed” memorial or roll of honour; 50 per cent of the cost up to a maximum of £2,500.

Even after the grants have been secured many of the memorial or roll of honour custodians will not be in a financial position to cover the outstanding costs.

I have therefore formed the Friends of Royal Leamington Spa War Memorials (no connection with the War Memorials Trust). Our aim is to raise funds locally to be able to offer custodians financial support to help preserve our local war memorial heritage.

So far Henry Ison & Sons of Leamington, have offered support with one of our most deserving projects from their community budget, and we are looking for any other individual, local business or company who would be happy to help us.

We hope to be able to continue to give support to custodians in the future after the present preservation stage is completed “hopefully” by the centenary of the beginning of the First World War in 2014 with conservation work support.

I was, until joining the War Memorial Trust, as guilty as anyone else believing that these memorials and rolls of honour will always be here, after completing these surveys sadly this is no longer the case.

The majority of which are not far off being a hundred years old and if we don’t start preserving them now we could lose them and the names and memory of those commemorated on them forever.

The situation at present is that all the surveys have been completed (of those we know of) and sent into the War Memorials Trust Conservation Team.

We are now in the process of carrying out a cost survey, once completed we will then know the financial situation before applying for grants from the trust.

Anyone wishing to join me or for further details in preserving our local war memorial heritage or to make a donation should contact me in the first instance at FRLSWM@yahoo.co.uk

Anyone wishing to donate will be directed to those custodians in priority of work needed to be completed

Friends of Royal Leamington Spa War Memorials has no connection to The War Memorials Trust, and is purely a local community project. - David Eason GCM, Chairman, Friends of Royal Leamington Spa War Memorials.