Boost for Stalybridge War Memorial extension plans

PLANS for a £130,000 extension to Stalybridge War Memorial, to honour the town’s forgotten servicemen, have received a lift.

The Friends of Stalybridge War Memorial has become a registered charity which will enhance the prospects of securing grants so almost 300 missing names can be added.

It comes four years after the Friends, a group led by the Stalybridge and Dukinfield branch of the Royal British Legion, was formed.

An artist’s impression as to how the extension will look

A start-up fund raised more than £22,000 which allowed the Friends to appoint architects to produce a design that has been approved by Tameside Council.

But an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund was rejected, with alternative methods of fundraising now being sought.

It had been hoped the war memorial extension would be completed for this year’s 100th anniversary of the end of WWI.

That didn’t happen and the new target is 2021 and the centenary of the opening of the war memorial.

While researching her family history, Stalybridge author Kate Booth identified almost 300 men who had been killed in WWI but their names had not been recorded on the war memorial.

Various reasons were given, mainly due to families having to register the name themselves which in reality meant if there were no relatives or moved away, the names were not recorded.

To complicate matters many little chapels and churches in the Stalybridge area, complete with their graveyards, have disappeared.

Peter Edwards, chairman of the Stalybridge and Dukinfield branch of the RBL, explained the war memorial is a grade II listed building that complicates matters as the extension must be separate and cannot be attached in any way to the existing structure.

The war memorial, built at a cost of £4,200, was opened in 1921 as a tribute to the 628 Stalybridge servicemen who gave their lives.

An extension, built at a cost of £2,400, was added to honour those killed in WWII and unveiled in 1950 recording an additional 126 names.

Peter added it took two years of “jumping through hoops” for the Friends to secure charitable status which ought to be a help in securing the money needed to complete the fourth quarter of the existing structure.

He said: “We feel we have a strong case for funding as the incomplete war memorial doesn’t reflect the true sacrifice of those who gave their lives.

“We are the custodians of remembrance and want to ensure we can get the funding in place for the extension.”

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