Saturday, 18 November 2017.

Dozens gather for first Remembrance service by new memorial

13 November, 2017

Remembrance Sunday in Aylesham was more poignant than usual at the weekend as villagers gathered around their new war memorial for the first time.

Although not fully finished – specialist work on carved pieces of Portland stone will be completed during the next few weeks – the memorial in Market Place was the focal point of Sunday’s service as villagers remembered all those lost in conflict with two minutes silence and the laying of poppy wreaths.

Building the memorial began in late October with the near £44,000 cost being met by Aylesham Parish Council and the developers of Aylesham Garden Village, Barratt Homes and Persimmon Homes with infrastructure contractor Gallagher.

Representatives of the four organisations gathered with the memorial’s builders, local company FineView, at the site on Friday 10 November to ‘top out’ the paved area by slotting in the last few blocks. The occasion proved an ideal first opportunity to display a 20 feet long carpet of knitted poppies created by residents across the Dover District Council area, of which Aylesham is part.

Parish Council Chair Cllr Jo Cartledge said: “I’m delighted that Barratt Homes, Persimmon Homes and Gallagher have each been able to contribute £8,000 towards the cost of this long awaited war memorial and thank them for their tremendous generosity.

“Discussions about a memorial in Aylesham date back many years and at last the village has something which provides a fitting tribute to all who have died in conflict. We can be very proud of the finished result and the parish council intends to hold a formal dedication ceremony next year.”

Until now, Remembrance Day services have been held around a pit wheel from the former Snowdown Colliery located a few yards from the new memorial. This will stay in its current position and is due to be refurbished soon.

Barratt Homes Kent sales and marketing director Natalie Perry said: “We were delighted to be able to donate towards Aylesham’s war memorial, helping create a fitting tribute to the fallen for the whole community.”

Tom Wright, managing director of Persimmon Homes South East, said: “The new memorial is clearly a long-wanted feature for the whole village and we are very pleased to have helped make that a reality.”

James Mutton, Gallagher project manager for Aylesham, said: “The memorial has been very well designed and is an outstanding feature of which residents, both new and established, can feel proud about. My company was delighted to contribute to the cause.”

Residents across the Dover District Council area were invited to start knitting poppies in August in a joint campaign with the Royal British Legion, Dover Arts Development and Dover Big Local/Art31. The carpet of poppies created has been displayed at memorials around the area during the Remembrance period.