Why the Mansfield Heroes’ Memorial Fund is changing its focus - by Graham Parker, chairman of the fund

Graham Parker pictured at the Mansfield Heroes Memorial in Carr Bank Park
Graham Parker pictured at the Mansfield Heroes Memorial in Carr Bank Park

When we launched Mansfield’s Heroes Memorial Fund in October 2009 it was with the intention of building the new memorial to our fallen who had been killed while in service in conflicts since the end of the Second World War.

That work is now complete, with the memorial standing proud in the Town’s memorial gardens in Carr Bank Park. Fundraising is still needed for its upkeep and the Heroes Fund has paid for a new plaque to replace the one stolen from the Great War Memorial just up the hill from the new one in Carr Bank Park.

We are still researching the archives to identify names that should be added to the memorial wall, but our main focus now is on supporting veterans who may be experiencing problems in ‘Civvie Street’.

We know from conversations with the Mercian Regiment, the Nottinghamshire Royal British Legion Benevolent Fund and others that some of our veterans need a lot of help. When the help is not available tragedies like the suicide of Ashley Clarkson too often occur; I have been told that some RBL members have attended more funerals of veterans committing suicide than of those that have been killed in action.

Ashley’s name was the first one to be recognised in the rose gardens that flank the main memorial when his family recently unveiled a stone in his memory.

We do not duplicate the actions of others, instead we work with and support organisations that are helping veterans deal with the problems of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, like some of the young local lads we have met that are learning new skills in the renovation of homes with the Houses to Homes Project in Pleasley; but we need funds to do that, which is why we are working with Savanna Rags International to generate income.

This gives us a steady income stream that can then be used to help veterans in many ways. We may help pay for home improvements, disabled access or support a veteran on a re-training course. Our banks are at The Civic Centre, Oak Tree Lane Leisure Centre, the I-Centre, the Watermeadows, Mansfield Railway Station car park and the Sir John Cockle, Speed the Plough, Ladybrook Hotel and Sunnydale pubs.

We make sure that any money we raise or is donated is used directly to help our local veterans rather than being used for administration.

Direct donations can be made to the Mansfield’s Heroes Memorial Fund at any HSBC bank or by contacting it on 01623 638023.

Our veterans need your help and even small donations can make all the difference – who knows, if we work together, we may even be able to prevent future suicides.