Mansfield’s new memorial to the District’s servicemen and women who have been killed in action in modern day conflicts - Mansfield’s Heroes Memorial - was officially opened on Saturday morning at a moving ceremony in Carr Bank Park.
Family representatives of the first seven men to be commemorated laid wreaths to unveil the memorial to the general public at a special celebration and blessing.
The service marked the culmination of a major appeal in the town, launched through Chad in October 2009 and followed by a major military march in the town two months later.
Fundraising has continued ever since the parade and now the appeal total has topped £70,000 to fund the building of the memorial, which is initially honouring:
Stwd Mark R Stephens, HMS Antelope, The Falklands 1982
Pte Colin Salmon, Royal Leicester Regiment, Korea 1951
Lt Keith W Eastgate, Royal Engineers, Korea 1951
Cpl Leon Bush, Worcester & Sherwood Foresters, N. Ireland 1982
Pte Damian Wright, 2nd Bn Mercian Regiment, Afghanistan 2007
Lt Cdr Darren Chapman, Fleet Air Arm, Iraq 2006
LSgt David Greenhalgh, 1st Bn Grenadier Guards, Afghanistan 2010
Pte Damian Wright’s mother Deborah Smalley, is a trustee of Mansfield’s Heroes Memorial Fund and has, along with the other five trustees, raised thousands of pounds for the fund and Help for Heroes.
She said on Saturday that the memorial and service - and support from the people of the area - made her proud to be from Mansfield.
The memorial includes three black granite teardrops, each one representing one of the armed forces. Behind the teardrops is a modern designed black granite look bench, while around the perimeter is a heavy stainless steel chain, there to represent the Merchant Navy and other services that provided men and women to defend the country.
At Saturday’s opening, servicemen and women representing the Air Force, Army, Royal Navy, Merchant Navy, cadets, members of the Royal British Legion, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, Col Roger Merryweather, High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire John Peace and special guests joined the seven families to pay their respects to the seven heroes.
A piper played the Piper’s Lament and buglers from Pleasley Colliery Welfare Band sounded The Last Post, while the band also played further pieces during the ceremony.
See next week’s Chad for a full report and photographs.